Latest News

Land and Property Professionals

We sell, rent, manage, survey, plan and advise...what can we do for you?

Bedford: 01234 351000 (Sales, lettings and viewing enquiries)
01234 352201 (Professional services and general enquiries)
Buckingham: 01280 428010
Powering british aviation history
3 July 2024

Robinson & Hall has recently completed an exciting project to offset carbon and reduce the financial cost of the significant power consumed by The Shuttleworth Collection, workshops, shop, restaurant, visitor centre and collection of historic aircraft by installing 263kwp of roof-mounted solar panels.

The Collection was founded in 1928 by aviator Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth. While flying a Fairey Battle at night on 2nd August 1940, Richard fatally crashed. In 1944, his mother formed the Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth Remembrance Trust ‘for the teaching of the science and practice of aviation and agriculture’.

The project was initiated by the Trustees as a consequence of crippling energy costs. We were appointed to advise in respect of the planning, practical arrangements and the contract administration for the installation of solar PV panels to the roofs of the Collection’s buildings.

These buildings are a mixture of portal frame and truss roofed hangars dating from the 1920 – 1930s era to 1998. The hangars are close to a conservation area but sit outside the designated area.

We commissioned engineers to assess the loadings on the buildings and to confirm that they were capable of carrying the additional imposed loads. The calculations confirmed that the two hangars proposed to receive the panels were capable without requiring reinforcement.

We reviewed the proposals and noted that the panels were permitted development subject to prior approval (on the basis that they were roof-mounted and not higher than the 200mm prior approval limit).

The site is close to the Collection’s airfield with views of the hangars from the public highway, so to satisfy the local authority officers that there would be no safety hazard for the airfield nor road users, a glint and glare assessment was commissioned. The assessment was prepared by independent consultants and had a satisfactory conclusion.

A prior approval planning application was therefore prepared and submitted and approved after due consultation.

David Sawford, Partner & Head of Planning, Building and Project Consultancy, said, “We were delighted to obtain planning consent for the solar panels, which will significantly reduce the Charity’s costs and go a long way to reducing the operations’ carbon.”

The provision of the solar panels required electrical upgrades to the Collection’s infrastructure including its fuse capacity to be able to export the electricity produced at times of little usage.

Robinson & Hall managed the tender process, contract administration and project supervision for the electrical upgrades and installation of the PV system.

The electrical upgrades were carried out during May with one planned out of hours power shutdown to enable connections and fuses to be upgraded, and the solar PV systems were installed in late May and early June.

At the time of writing this article (one month into the production of power), the 263kwp system has offset power usage to the tune of £28,400.00 based on the current commercial price, and has reduced CO2 emissions over the same period by 6,530kg.

It is estimated that the simple return on investment is 43% based on the current fixed commercial contract electrical rate.

If you have a high electrical usage and are considering renewable technology, we will be pleased to assist with the planning process and procurement/contract administration.

For more information, please contact David Sawford.

Back to articles