The Development comprises solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that will provide up to 49.9 MW of power.
Above: Wood Lane Solar PV Scheme Location Plan
In January 2022, SPR acquired the Wood Lane Solar PV project from Elgin Energy as part of a portfolio of 17 projects with a combined capacity of more than 800 MW. The portfolio will be the largest to be delivered in the UK’s post-subsidy market, demonstrating the key role that solar PV combined with storage will play in the UK’s future generation mix, providing flexible and competitive renewable energy.
The Wood Lane Solar PV project is located on agricultural land south of Wood Lane, near Sturton-le-Steeple, Nottinghamshire, toward the northeastern Nottinghamshire boundary in Engand. The land subject of the application comprises a number of arable fields (approximately 95.3 ha) located to the south of South Wheatley and west of Sturton-le-Steeple, with access gained from Wood Lane to the north. The Site is located within the Bassetlaw District Council.
Proposed Development / Project History
The Wood Lane solar PV project was consented in August 2020 for ground mounted solar PV panels with associated infrastructure. The area within the red line planning boundary is approximately 95.3 hectares (ha). However, within this, the infrastructure would typically occupy an area of approximately 32 ha (33%) and would have a capacity not exceeding 49.9 MWp. The project would connect to the grid via an existing tower associated with a 132 kV overhead line cable which runs through the centre of the site.
The Site will be accessed from Wood Lane via Wheatley Road. Wheatley Road can be accessed from the north via Gainsborough Road and the A631. Alternative routes to site were considered, namely approaching through South Wheatley and North Wheatley via Low Road and approaching from the south through Sturton le Steeple via Leverton Road however these routes were discounted so as to avoid impact on minor roads and villages as far as possible.
SPR completed the acquisition of Wood Lane solar PV project in January 2022. SPR discharged the final pre-commencement planning condition in July 2023 and aim to implement the planning consent prior to its expiration on 27th August 2023. To implement the consent, construction of small length of internal access track will commence in early – mid August 2023. It should be noted that once the consent is implemented, construction will not commence straight away. Full construction of the solar farm is programmed to commence in Q2 2024.
Design Considerations & Evolution
Since acquiring the site in January 2022, SPR has undertaken an internal review of the consented solar layout designed by Elgin Energy. Subsequently, a Section 73 planning application (planning reference 23/00827/VOC) was submitted to the Council in July 2023 to make changes to the development including:
Relocating the approved substation to a more feasible location based on the Distribution Network Operator’s (DNO) recommendations.
Amendment to the size of the substation in order to connect to the existing power line, as advised by the DNO.
Additional hardcore to be added to provide access to the substation.
Removal of solar panels to accommodate relocation of substation.
Addition of an archaeological exclusion area and removal of panels from this area within the site layout.
This planning application is currently being considered by the Council and will likely be determined by October 2023. It can be viewed on Bassetlaw District Council’s public access here. This planning application requested the conditions attached to the consent be changed to reflect the updates to the development including Conditions 4, 8 and 16. Condition 4 is proposed to be updated to reflect the revised drawings submitted including the Site Layout and Enhancement Strategy. The updated layout showing the new substation location and the archaeological exclusion area can be viewed here. The updated Enhancement Strategy can be viewed in the below section.
In terms of grid works, discussions are being held with the DNO to finalise connection details on site.
Further details on the finalised design will be available prior to commencement of construction.
Site Enhancements / Key benefits
Embedded design mitigation includes planting proposals and enhancements designed to complement and enhance the existing landscape character, to contribute to the landscape character/green infrastructure of the wider area and to minimise visual effects. A summary of the enhancement measures is provided below:
- Approximately 950 m of new hedgerows will be planted across the site;
- A total of 38 trees will be planted as informal groups;
- Any gaps within existing hedgerows will be planted and maintained to a 3.0m height;
- Three areas of woodland (5,750 m2) will be planted within and on the boundaries of the Site;
- The Site will be sown with a traditional grassland mix and grazed by livestock. Margins adjoining the route of the Public Right of Way (area of approximately 2.5 ha) which crosses the Site will be sown with a wildflower mix and managed for the benefit of wildlife.
View the updated Enhancement strategy submitted as part of the S73 planning application.
The above benefits introduce enhanced biodiversity potential to the site and its immediate surroundings whilst maintaining continued agricultural use on site. As such, effects on ground condition as the site will be restored and returned to its current agricultural state with the addition of biodiversity enhancements 40 years after first export of electricity.
The proposal represents a significant and important contribution to meeting the binding targets the UK is required to achieve in 2030 and 2050.
Consultation is key to the way SPR develops projects and ensure that local communities and stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide feedback throughout the various stages.
As SPR progress with the Wood Lane Solar Development, this webpage will be revised on a regular basis with project updates. You can contact the project team on the project mailbox address noted in the "Contact" section below.
A newsletter providing an update of project progress was issued to the local communities in Retford in June. An electronic copy of the newsletter can be provided on request using the contact details outlined below.
View the Wood Lane solar PV project planning documents
View the Wood Lane S73 planning documents
The Project Team can be contacted directly by email.