MPs and Mayor 'significant concerns' over Sunnica
- Credit: Sunnica
‘Say No to Sunnica’ campaign is gaining momentum as the implications of landing parts of East Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk with a 2,800-acre solar farm become clearer.
Tory MPs Lucy Frazer and Matt Hancock and Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, can be added to the list of doubters.
Ms Frazer, MP for SE Cambs and Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, told the Planning Inspectorate of their “significant concerns” over the public consultation.
They agree Covid-19 was a restriction but both remain concerned Sunnica failed to stage public and open meetings.
The MPs list protest meetings in villages in the second half of last year to which Sunnica was invited but failed to turn up.
Lack of access to information for residents and fuller details of the scheme – which would create the country’s biggest solar farm- are among their criticisms.
They want the Planning Inspectorate to rule Sunnica’s consultation as “inadequate” and insist on more face-to-face consultations.
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Chair of the Say No To Sunnica Community action group, Dr Catherine Judkins said: “The consultation has been woefully inadequate.
“It has left our communities – around 30,000 residents - being ridden roughshod over and without a voice on a scheme that will detrimentally affect their environment, local culture and health.”
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said the project dwarfs many other schemes.
“It covers the equivalent of 900 football fields with its output equal to a third of all the current UK installed capacity on large solar sites.
“Such a scale of development is inappropriate in the location proposed.”
He, too, believes consultation meetings “only seem to have been conducted electronically, effectively excluding those without access to the technology”.
Newmarket councillor Rachel Hood told the Racing Post: "It's inexplicable that 2,800 acres of prime farmland would be allocated for inefficient solar panels.
“If Newmarket wants to remain the world centre of horseracing it can't afford to have Sunnica as its neighbour."
Sunnica says its energy farm is required to “meet an urgent national need for new sources of renewable energy generation.
“Our site selection process and assessments have found the sites to be a suitable location for a solar development of this size.
"In preparing our application for development consent, Sunnica has undertaken an environmental impact assessment which is included in its application documentation.”