Europe’s Leading Solar Energy Generator Submits Formal Planning Application for Solar Installation to Power NSG Group

Lightsource BP, Europe’s leading solar energy generator has submitted a formal planning application to West Lancashire Borough Council to develop a solar installation that will power the operations at NSG Group’s European Technical Centre, in Lathom, Lancashire. Lightsource BP plans to fund, develop and operate a solar installation that will be hard-wired directly into NSG Group’s electricity network.

The proposed solar installation has an output power capacity of 2.5MWp (Megawatts-Peak) – enough clean solar energy to power the equivalent of 720 homes. If approved this will provide approximately 30% of the centre’s annual electricity demand. The majority of the proposed solar installation will be erected on 10 acres of land just to the south of the centre, with a smaller installation within the Technical Centre’s grounds.

The planning application follows a community information event held at the NSG Technical Centre in January 2018 and a number of environmental assessments, which have helped shape the final designs and management plans. This includes amendments to the layout to avoid impacts on identified archaeological features, finalised landscaping and habitat creation measures, and updated construction management plans, including ensuring construction traffic avoids Spa Lane.

Lightsource BP and NSG Group appreciate the important heritage of Lathom House and the use of its grounds as a remount station during World War One. As part of the thorough assessment process heritage experts undertook a geophysical survey, which was reviewed in light of the reports regarding the possibility of a war horse burial site being present on the proposed land in February 2018. This found no evidence of horse burials within the proposed development site.

In response to concerns raised in the local community, a second geophysical survey was commissioned following Easter with a second firm. The results of this second survey confirmed evidence of barracks or stable blocks and an exercise track, but no subsurface earthworks consistent with a horse burial within the proposal site. Lightsource BP have amended the layout and agreed a construction methodology with the County Archaeologist to avoid impacts on these identified archaeological features.

As part of NSG Group’s drive to improve their sustainability credentials, the solar installation will help meet carbon reduction targets, saving an estimated 908 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent of taking 193 family cars off the road.

The application has been validated and is available to view on the Council website using the following reference number 2018/0409/FUL. Click here to view the information pack.

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource BP, said: “We’re delighted to have submitted a planning application alongside NSG to develop a solar installation to generate clean electricity for their European Technical Centre, in Lathom. We have been sharing plans for the site with the local community through public events and leaflets and have been encouraged by the largely positive response. The majority of the feedback has been supportive of our proposal, which would generate enough clean solar energy to meet 30% of the electricity needs of the Technical Centre, an important local employer.”