Creating a better environment for bumblebees at Elwy Solar Energy Farm
As part of a substantial package of environmental measures, Solarcentury has asked the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) again to monitor improvements in biodiversity at the site of the proposed Elwy Solar Energy Farm.
The Trust, who Solarcentury has worked with before, will do this by establishing a transect; a route through the site that can be repeated over time to monitor bumblebee populations now and into the future.
Solarcentury’s work with the BBCT is part of a broader biodiversity strategy for the proposed Elwy site. The plan includes planting and infilling over 1,700m of native hedgerow with hawthorn, hazel, holly and maple, the creation of seven wildlife ponds, and the planting of native wildflower meadows.
Gill Perkins, CEO of the BBCT: “Solar farms have the capacity to create long-term havens for our wildlife as beneficial environments co-exist around the panels. And so little maintenance is required that nature is given the chance to thrive. Bumblebees are an amazing indicator of what’s happening with habitat quality in a given location. As the number and variety of bumblebees increases, we know that other species will also be on the increase.”
Chris Banks of Solarcentury: “The planting and ponds are not only expected to create a fantastic environment for wildlife, the measures have the additional benefit of removing carbon. We expect to see a greater proliferation of insects and wildlife in the area around the solar farm, and it’s great to be working with the BBCT who are carrying out the research to document this. So while the site is producing clean, green power that decarbonises our supply, we will also be fostering biodiversity in and around the farm, and storing carbon in trees and meadows. A triple win for our environment.”
Transects, also known as bee walks, are a standardised bumblebee-monitoring scheme which involves regular walking of the same fixed route between March and October in any given year. The bumblebees are counted and identified to species and caste (queen, worker, male) where possible. More information can be found: www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beewalk
The Elwy Biodiversity Management Plan outlines recommendations for long-term management of the site in order to protect and enhance potentially important wildlife corridors and habitats. This will contribute to the establishment of resilient ecological networks.
The consultation for the Elwy Solar Energy Farm is open until early October. To find out more about the Biodiversity Management Plan and see other documents associated with the proposal please visit www.solarcentury.com/elwy. The online community hall link will take you to the details.