The project is being developed by JBM Solar. In addition to the solar farm, the proposed development includes a battery energy storage system, on-site substations to connect to the national grid, underground cabling and supporting infrastructure such as access tracks, gates and fencing and drainage and storage.
RSK Project Manager David Hoare said: “This is a solar and battery storage project that would generate enough clean, renewable energy to displace more than 11,200,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions from fossil fuel power plants each year – the equivalent emissions reduction of taking 166,000 cars off the road per year. We are incredibly proud to be involved.”
RSK and JBM Solar’s vision for the project includes the retention and enhancement of natural habitats and species to exceed biodiversity net gain requirements.
RSK Project Coordinator Anna Bloor said: “We are aiming for an exceptional 50% biodiversity net gain through new planting and habitat creation. The planned ecological mitigation and enhancements include improving wild flower meadows, hedgerow and grassland areas, which will create new habitats for birds, bats, insects and reptiles. Plans also include public access and recreation facilities, such as new footpaths to increase local access.”
Peartree Hill Solar Farm is a 320-MW development and is therefore classed as a nationally significant infrastructure project subject to the Development Consent Order planning process, whereby the final decision on the project will be made by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
The following RSK Group companies are supporting JBM Solar by coordinating and undertaking all the environmental impact assessment-related work required to support the Development Consent Order application: RSK Environment, Nature Positive, Headland Archaeology, RSK Biocensus, RSK Wilding, Stephenson Halliday, RSK Acoustics, SCP and RSK Geosciences.
It is expected that the Development Consent Order application will be submitted towards the end of 2024, with a decision from the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero expected by 2026.
JBM Solar’s Development Project Manager Mike Greslow said: “This project is an opportunity to help tackle the climate crisis and deliver on local and national energy targets. The UK needs to rapidly expand its renewable energy network to deliver on its aim to decarbonise the energy sector by 2035, and renewable energy projects such as Peartree Hill will help to achieve that.”