Lancaster University: University seeking community feedback on plans to cut carbon emissions via solar energy

As part of a bid to significantly reduce carbon emissions, Lancaster University is drawing up plans for a solar photovoltaic farm near its campus.

The University, which declared a Climate Emergency in November 2020 and announced the aim to become carbon neutral by 2035, is seeking public feedback via an online consultation. Lancaster City Council has also previously declared a Climate Emergency and as a Civic University, Lancaster University is keen to take this step. The University also aims to be carbon neutral for its energy use by 2030.

This declaration represents a strengthening of the University’s commitments to sustainability, having already reduced its electricity and heating emissions by 50% since 2005.

Solar photovoltaic panels capture the energy of the sun and turn it into electricity without the need for fossil fuels.The proposed development would be capable of generating approximately 16.8MW, comprising of around 36,000 solar panels providing 60% of the University’s current annual electrical consumption. Each photovoltaic panel would be mounted above the ground with a gap of 3m between each row of panels to allow for planting and wildlife.

Local residents, businesses and other stakeholders are invited to share their views on the development which would be situated on a University-owned site at Forrest Hills.

The online consultation on the proposal is now open until August 4. Input from staff, students and local residents will help shape the formal planning application to Lancashire County Council.

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