Solar farms to help Melbourn and Meldreth communities with cash boosts

Recently built solar farm at Black Peak Farm near Fowlmere.

Recently built solar farm at Black Peak Farm near Fowlmere. - Credit: Archant

Two local authorities in South Cambs are set to reap the financial rewards of solar farms that developed on their patch.

Melbourn Parish Council will receive £750,000 over the next 20 years while Meldreth Parish Council will get £200,000 in the same period for the solar farms at Black Peak Farm in Flint Cross and Munceys Farm in Melbourn.

Construction work on the projects is now complete and the sites have started exporting electricity to the grid.

Councillor Jose Hales, district and parish councillor for Melbourn, said: “Lightsource, the company behind the development, initially came to us to offer a one off payment of £177,000.

“But we managed to negotiate getting £750,000 over the next 20 years for Melbourn.

“There have been a couple of concerns raised over the sites, but generally speaking, people seem happy. It helps the community in the long run.

“There were previous concerns made by English Heritage that the Black Peak site would cause serious harm to archeological site Bran Ditch, but they did not install the farm close to the ditch.

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“Hedging will be planted in front of the solar farms which will grow up and help shield the site.”

The two sites are capable of generating enough energy to power more than 14,000 homes.

Lightsource operations director Mark Turner said: “The Black Peak and Munceys sites are a prime example of how solar farms can provide a real benefit to the wider community – above and beyond the generation of clean, renewable electricity.”

A ‘significantly-sized’ wild bird area will be included at the northern end of the Black Peak solar farm.

The two sites will feature a minimum of 36 bird boxes, 15 bat roosting boxes and two barn owl boxes.

County councillor for Melbourn and Meldreth, Susan van de Ven, said: “We need to maximize good sustainable energy opportunities, and this is a good scheme.

“Councillor Jose Hales worked very hard to ensure that local communities would benefit and that a very substantial community contribution would be made to Melbourn and Meldreth.”