Solarcentury has partnered with Habitat Aid to boost the biodiversity of its solar farms across the UK.
Native trees, plants, seeds and nest boxes at each of Solarcentury’s solar farms will soon provide a safe haven for some of Britain’s most at-risk flora and fauna – boosting biodiversity with habitat restoration and new native planting schemes.
The companies believe that the often remote nature of solar parks provides the perfect habitat to bolster numbers of butterflies, bumblebees and other insects whose populations have dropped significantly in recent years due to intensive farming and poor land management practices. It is estimated that some 97% of wildflower meadows in the UK have been lost since the 1940s.
The London-based solar developer has pledged to incorporate a ‘Habitat Management Plan’ for each solar park to ensure that suitable seeds, plants and trees are selected and grown to maximise biodiversity.
Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury commented: “At Solarcentury, we are always looking for ways to positively impact the environment. Working with Habitat Aid presents us with an exciting opportunity to improve biodiversity in solar parks, and it complements our new partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. So as well as cutting carbon emissions, solar panels are also ideal for nurturing a diversity of flora and fauna because they can provide a greater range of dry and wet and shaded and sunny areas than fields without panels.”
The environmental impact of solar farms has been called into question recently following a Westminster Hall debate on the subject. In response to pressure from Conservative back-benchers the government recently issued new planning guidance for solar farms that puts more emphasis on local communities’ views.
Nick Mann, director of Habitat Aid concluded: “I am really looking forward to working with Solarcentury on these projects. When sensitively sited and appropriately managed, solar parks can present a fantastic opportunity for the establishment of habitats such as wildflower areas. They can provide an attractive refuge for a whole host of creatures. For example, solar panels provide dappled shady areas, similar to a woodland edge, one of our most species rich habitats. I’m excited by the potential for solar parks to support British wildlife and offer a lifeline to many species.”