Westmorland and Furness Council has today (12 September) approved the construction of a new solar farm site in Barrow.
Plans to fund and construct a 2MW solar farm site on council-owned land at Sandscale Park in Barrow were approved at a meeting of Cabinet.
The solar farm will generate green electricity which will be used to offset the council's carbon emissions in line with its carbon management objectives which form part of the council’s developing Climate Action Plan 2023.
The site will bring about reductions in carbon for the council and is expected to result in savings of around 607 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. This is equivalent to planting 700,000 trees and would provide enough electricity to power the council’s five leisure centres or approximately 730 homes per year, based upon average UK households.
In light of rising global energy prices, the solar farm will contribute to the council’s income generation, mitigate energy costs, and boost the council’s energy sovereignty, independence and security.
Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges to this generation, and for many generations to come. It is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and humanity globally, with the devastating impacts of it already seen and experienced in Cumbria with extreme weather events such as Storm Desmond in 2015.
Part of this development includes Biodiversity Enhancement Plans which include proposals such as increasing opportunities for pollinators, managing grassland sheep grazing levels, retention of bird nesting habitat, and woodland enhancement.
Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Assets, said: “This is very welcome news and an example of us using our assets in an innovative way to meet a serious challenge.
"The rise in energy costs is affecting us all, and by creating this site we’ll be able to generate our own energy and ensure security for the future, which can only be a positive thing.”
Councillor Giles Archibald, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate and Biodiversity, added: "This is a significant milestone for the council and a sign of our commitment to tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
"In developing our Climate Action Plan, we have set ourselves ambitious targets to significantly reduce our own carbon footprint and this solar farm is further evidence of our determination to play a leading role in tackling climate change.”