BBCT welcomes new guidance on solar farms

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has welcomed new guidance which will turn solar farms into biodiversity hotspots.

The guidance was launched at Kew Gardens this week by the BRE National Solar Centre in partnership with BBCT and other leading conservation groups.

Solar farms typically take up less than 5% of the land they are on leaving huge scope to develop protected habitats to support local wildlife and plant life.

Many species benefit from the diversity of light and shade that the solar arrays provide, including bumblebees.

BBCT already works in partnership with Solarcentury to boost bumblebee populations, which have been in significant decline in recent years.

Gill Perkins, conservation manager at the trust, said: “Recent studies of agri-environment schemes indicate that appropriate land management can bring about significant increases in wildlife populations on agricultural land. In the same way, with appropriate land management, solar farms have the potential to support wildlife and contribute to national biodiversity targets.

“Solar farms have several additional advantages in that they are secure sites with little disturbance from humans and machinery once construction is complete. Recent research suggests biodiversity gains on solar farms can be significant.

“Because solar panels are raised above the ground on posts, greater than 95% of a field utilised for solar farm development is still accessible for plant growth and potentially for wildlife enhancements and complementary agricultural activities such as conservation grazing.  Following construction, there is little human activity apart from occasional maintenance visits. Most sites have a lifespan of at least 20 years which is sufficient time for appropriate land management to yield real wildlife benefits.”

You can read the guidance document here.

For advice on ways to manage your land click here.

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