Works to build a new solar farm site on council-owned land at Sandscale Park in Barrow are set to start over the next few weeks.

Westmorland and Furness Council approved plans to fund and construct a 2MW solar farm site at a meeting of cabinet in September 2023.

Works to upgrade access to the site have already been undertaken and this next stage of the project will see main works begin including the installation of the panels and mounting structure and laying of electrical cables.

Westmorland and Furness Council assistant director for corporate assets, fleet and capital programme Allan Harty said: “This is a significant milestone for the council and a sign of our commitment to tackling climate change and delivering against our Net Zero target for carbon emissions.

"It is 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.”

The solar farm will generate green electricity which will be used to inset the council's carbon emissions in line with its carbon management objectives which form part of the council’s Carbon Management Strategy and Climate Action Plans.

The site will bring about reductions in carbon for the council and is expected to result in savings of around 507 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.

This is equivalent to providing enough electricity to power the council’s five leisure centres or approximately 730 homes per year, based upon average UK households.

Part of this development includes allowance for 10 per cent Biodiversity Net Gain, supported by a Biodiversity Enhancement Plan which will see the council implement proposals to increase opportunities for pollinators, enhancements to woodland, hedgerows and bird and bat nesting habitats.

The project will be delivered by contractors Vital Energi and is expected to be completed in the autumn.