Lackford Estate Solar Farm, Bury St Edmunds

Within the buffer zone for the adjacent Special Protection Area (SPA), designated for Stone Curlews, the award winning Lackford Estate Solar Farm required some careful planning with special attention to the ecology of the area. Clarkson & Woods were consulted to provide an ecological report, Habitat Regulations Assessment and Landscape and Ecological Management Plan and worked with Inazin on the project throughout the development.

Having worked with Inazin on a number of previous sites, we were pleased to be appointed again in 2013 to work on their new site at Lackford. We worked closely with Inazin throughout the project to mitigate the effects of the development on the Stone Curlews in the neighbouring SPA and to improve the current habitat for dormice, bats and reptiles.

The area under the solar panels was planted with a species rich seed mix (native flowers and grasses) to create a rough grassland which encourages a range of invertebrate species – prey for foraging bats, birds and reptiles. Hibernacula were built in the buffer zone around the edge of the development to provide appropriate habitat for hibernating reptiles and bat/bird boxes installed on nearby trees. Clarkson & Woods worked with Inazin to plan the timing for the construction to minimise the impacts on the ecology of the area and on the establishment of the habitats.

Lackford Estate Solar Farm was commissioned on 29th March 2014 and won the Solar Power Portal Award 2014 for the best 'Utility-scale solar farm (>10MW)'. Solar Power Portal state on their website

'As the most contentious form of solar energy generation, well-designed and considered solar farms are essential to the sector's continued success. From extensive community engagement to boosting biodiversity, the shortlisted projects represent some of the best work in this space.'

We're very proud to have been involved with such a successful project.