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Archaeological fieldwork complete at Common Farm Solar Energy Park

Published on 28 Mar 2024

A programme of archaeological fieldwork has been completed on the site of a new renewable energy generation and storage project in South Yorkshire.

After securing planning permission for the Common Farm Solar Energy Park last summer, which will be located to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington, developer OnPath Energy (formerly Banks Renewables) commissioned a programme of archaeological on the 116-hectare site, with 130 trenches being excavated.

The heritage team within the Leeds office of consultancy Pegasus Group designed and agreed the scope of the archaeological works with the LPA Archaeology Officer for South Yorkshire and managed the archaeological works on behalf of OnPath Energy, carrying it out over the first two months of the year.

Mirfield-based Briggs Land Drainage and Excavations Ltd were also commissioned to carry out any strengthening work required on the drainage channels across the site following the completion of the investigation work, while the archaeological fieldwork was undertaken by Archaeological Services WYAS.

Any features of archaeological interest will be catalogued and referenced in the final report that will be submitted to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

A programme of site investigation work has also been completed with the support of specialist contractors Aecom and Geotechnical Engineering Limited.

OnPath Energy is expecting construction work on the project to begin early next year and to take around 12 months to complete it.

The Common Farm Solar Energy Park will have an installed capacity of up to 49MW, which is enough to meet the average annual electricity requirements of up to 18,800 family homes and would displace over 11,470 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.

Fieldwork taking place at the site of the Common Farm Solar Energy Park in South Yorkshire

A 50 MW battery storage facility will also link directly into the Thurcroft electricity sub-station around three kilometres to the north of the site, which will help support the long-term security of energy supplies to UK consumers.

The project’s detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy will also ensure it delivers a net benefit in biodiversity to the local community, with the ground around and beneath the solar panels being used to create a wildflower meadow.

Consultation work is continuing on how the annual £50,000 package of community benefits that forms part of the project, which could equate to more than £2,000,000 through its lifetime, might best be used to support local community and environmental priorities.

Jill Askew, senior project manager at OnPath Energy, says: “Making a detailed recording of the archaeological and geological history and constitution of all our proposed development sites is an important part of the planning process.

“The independent team of experts we appointed have conducted a thorough assessment of how this land is composed, and we’re looking forward to seeing what their investigations reveal.

“OnPath Energy is committed to investing in the skills of local suppliers wherever possible and we’re very pleased to have been able to do just that for the latest phase of this important project.

“The Common Farm Solar Energy Park will bring a wide range of direct environmental, energy security and community benefits to the local area, and will further increase the contribution that we’re able to make towards helping the UK meet its crucial Net Zero targets.”

Full details of the Common Farm Solar Energy Park can be found at

For further information on OnPath Energy, visit

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