Lightrock Power has pledged to achieve at least a 20 per cent improvement in biodiversity value at all its developments

The RSPB has announced a partnership with solar developer Lightrock Power that will see it advise the firm on how it can build nature-friendly solar farms.

Lightrock Power has committed to ensuring all the solar projects it develops deliver at least a 20 per cent improvement in biodiversity value, going beyond the requirement for all developments to deliver 10 per cent ‘biodiversity net gain’ outlined in the Environment Act.

The partnership will see the RSPB advise Lightrock on how to meet and go beyond its headline commitment to achieve 20 per cent biodiversity net gain, according to the update.

“The wide-ranging expertise RSPB can offer us through our partnership is exactly what we need to help us achieve our aim of exceeding industry best practice,” said Chris Sowerbutts from Lightrock. “We are thrilled to be working with them to explore new methods of designing nature-friendly solar farms.”

The partners claim to have already delivered a 208 per cent net gain for nature through a range of activities designed to protect and enhance nature at the Woolpots Solar Farm in North Yorkshire.

Measures include sowing wildflowers to provide food for pollinators, planting new trees and hedgerows, putting up bird and bat boxes, and creating gaps at the bottom of fences to create ‘hedgehog highways’, they said.

Sam Tarrant, business conservation partnerships manager at RSBP, commended the solar developer for its commitment to biodiversity. “The team at Lightrock are a real example of how businesses can be allies for nature, tackling the biodiversity and climate crises head-on,” he said. “We are so excited to be partnering with them and finding ways we can work together to revive our world.”

The news comes in the same week as new research from Lancaster University detailed how sowingwildflowers alongside solar farms could help boost pollinator populations.

“Our research suggests that the management of vegetation within the solar parks is really important,” said Hollie Blaydes, a researcher at Lancaster University. “Solar parks managed as a meadow act as bumblebee habitat that is rich in flowering plants. Management to create floral-rich bumblebee habitat could be one of the simplest ways to support bumblebees on solar parks.”

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