UK solar farms to create natural habitats

Threatened wildlife including turtle doves and skylarks could benefit from a scheme which has been launched to create natural habitats at solar farm sites.

The project by wildlife charity RSPB and clean tech company Anesco aims to boost wildlife at the firm’s solar farms across England and Wales.

Wild flower meadow areas and seed-rich planting in the “unused” margins of the farms and where tracks go between the panels will help boost insects such as bees and butterflies and provide food and nesting areas for birds, the RSPB said.

The scheme will reinstate habitats which have been lost in the face of agricultural intensification, hitting farmland bird species.

It is hoped that struggling species such as tree sparrows, which have seen numbers fall by 94 per cent in the last 40 years, turtle doves which have seen an 89 per cent reduction in numbers, lapwing (58 per cent fall) and skylarks (51 per cent fall) will be helped by the project.

Butterflies, reptiles, mammals and amphibians could also be helped by the move.

The project will see the RSPB advising Anesco on providing for “priority” species – those in most need of help – at its existing solar farms, in places ranging from Cornwall to Suffolk, Yorkshire and the Isle of Anglesey, with the advice also helping to form plans at new sites.

Darren Moorcroft, RSPB head of species and habitats conservation, said the project was an excellent opportunity to develop habitats for nature.

Adrian Pike, chief executive of Anesco, said: “We will be maximising the positive impact that our sites have for local wildlife, while focusing on supporting those species that really need it.”

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