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Solar Farm Proposals Unveiled in East Sussex

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British solar farm developer and operator, Lightsource Renewable Energy, is hoping to submit a proposal for a solar farm which will not only generate clean electricity for 2,700 local homes but also create opportunities for local businesses and employment.

The firm has launched a “Get Involved” campaign today, seeking involvement from the local community in shaping and designing its solar farm proposal. Information on preliminary designs have been sent out to the local residents and a drop-in information evening will be held on 4th February at the Forge Hotel, Halland, Lewes, BN8 6PW, between 5:30 and 7:30pm.

Conor McGuigan, Business Development Director, says:

“The way a solar farm is laid out means that over two-thirds of the land is open grassland. In the case of Bentley Estate, the open grassland would account for 44 out of the planned 65 acres. All of this land needs to be responsibly cared for and this involves much more than just technical expertise. There are many ways people can get involved – from the point of design right through to construction, fencing, and enhancing habitats for local wildlife.”

Lightsource is currently seeking the following expertise/involvement in this scheme from the local area:

· Residents to provide local knowledge and input into the initial designs and planning

· Wildlife enthusiasts – solar farms provide excellent opportunities to enhance biodiversity in the local area

· Security personnel

· Traffic management & civil roadways experts

· Accommodation & Food and Beverage providers

· Storage and logistics businesses

· Fencing experts

· Landscapers specialising in local/native species

Conor continues:

“Solar power is a dependable source of energy, and farming it creates a great opportunity to establish a sustainable local supply chain.”

The preliminary design of the proposed Solar Farm includes gaps of over 5 meters between the rows of panels, on which sheep will be grazed and all existing hedgerows and woodland will be retained. Biodiversity enhancements include wild flower seeding along the field margins to encourage pollinators and insects, bat boxes in the surrounding trees and a barn owl box overlooking the watercourse and surrounding grasslands. New tree and hedgerow planting is also proposed to screen footpaths and provide further habitat enhancements.

Conor elaborates:

“We have chosen to progress with our proposals for this area because it is already well screened – the site issurrounded by existing trees and vegetation which will all be retained and will screen most views of the solar farm. We plan to fill any gaps in the surrounding hedgerows with native species and plant an entire new hedgerow along the historic field boundary between the two most northerly fields. The planting will help to screen the farm as well as providing additional habitat benefits for local wildlife.”

The firm’s in-house planning team are in the process of gathering results from independently commissioned wildlife and landscape assessments which will feed into the solar farm proposal.

Conor concludes:

“It is still early days and we are several weeks away from a final proposal. We encourage anyone who would like to get involved to make contact with us and also come along to our community information evening on the 4th of February to find out more, provide input or register with us as a local service provider.”

For more information about Lightsource Renewable Energy and its proposals for a solar farm at Bentley Estate, contact 0333 200 0755 or email info@lightsource-re.co.uk quoting ‘Bentley Estate’.

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