East Cambs council's five concerns over Sunnica energy farm

Matt Hancock and Lucy Frazer led the march from Mildenhall

Matt Hancock and Lucy Frazer led protest march from Mildenhall to the site of part of the proposed solar farm. - Credit: Autumn Scott

Five major concerns have been raised by East Cambridgeshire District Council in their response to the energy farm proposed by Sunnica.  

The council says its submission to the Planning Inspectorate highlights a number of issues.  

1: The potential for Sunnica to dominate and transform the local landscape 

2: The impact on trees 

3: The detrimental impact on Chippenham Historic Park and Garden 

4: The hours of construction work 

5: The detrimental impact on biodiversity 

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Sunnica is proposing to build a nationally significant energy farm generating in excess of 50MW of renewable electricity. 

If approved it will stretch across four locations, including the East Cambridgeshire villages of Isleham, Chippenham, Kennett and Snailwell; and Freckenham and Worlington in Suffolk. 

Each site will feature multiple fields of solar photovoltaic panels and battery energy storage infrastructure, which will connect to each other and the Burwell National Grid Substation by an underground cable. 

A council spokesperson said they have been working in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council on their individual responses to the Sunnica proposal. 

 “Each has agreed to focus on their areas of expertise when compiling their Relevant Representations, which have all now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate,” said the spokesperson.  

Because the Sunnica Energy Site is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) the decision will be made by the Government.  

 Instead, the council is a statutory consultee and will make representations on the application to the Planning Inspectorate which administers the application process on behalf of the Secretary of State. 

 The spokesperson said: “The next step is for the councils to continue to work together to produce a joint local impact report - a factual report which expands on the issues raised in the relevant representations.” 

A special planning committee will also be held close to the proposed area at which councillors will consider the council’s final response. 

“Residents, parish councils, interested parties and action groups will also be able to attend,” said the spokesperson. 

“Following the submission of the local impact report the district council will be invited to give more details of their views in a written representation.” 

This examination process is likely to take around six months, after which the Secretary of State then has a further three months to make the decision on whether to grant or refuse development consent. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s response which can be accessed here:

https://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/local-development-framework/sunnica-energy-farm