MPs both oppose proposals for 2,700-acre solar farm
- Credit: Archant
Two MPs joined forces to oppose plans for a solar farm on a 2,700-acre site on the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk border.
Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, and Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, have set out their objections to the scheme which crosses both of their constituencies.
The proposed facility is close to Isleham, Kennett, Chippenham, Snailwell, Worlington, Freckenham and Red Lodge.
Its proposed cable route will connect to the National Grid at Burwell.
At 2,700 acres, both MPs have described the proposed site as “unprecedented on UK soil” and “far larger than other solar farms built or proposed in the country”.
Their formal response to the statutory consultation urges Sunnica Consultation, the company behind the solar farm, “to listen to” concerns about the project’s scale, loss of countryside and its impact on biodiversity and wildlife.
They also have concerns about the project’s safety and the company’s plans when it comes to decommissioning the site.
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Commenting on the proposals, Ms Frazer said: “I am supportive of renewable energy and solar, and I’m proud of the contribution a number of solar farms in my constituency make in supporting the UK’s efforts to reach our net zero emissions target.
“However, I understand the concerns residents have about the size of the project, which would be far bigger than any other solar farm in the UK and would risk losing vast swathes of agricultural land and open countryside, enjoyed by residents and visitors to the area.”
Mr Hancock added: “Many of my constituents have concerns over safety, environment, and decommissioning, and I am not satisfied that these issues have been fully addressed.”
Their formal opposition includes figures from resident surveys in two affected villages.
In Chippenham, 93pc of residents are in favour of renewables while 92pc opposed the project in its current form.
Meanwhile 92pc of Isleham residents are for renewables while 84pc oppose the project.
Sunnica’s statutory consultation on the proposed solar farm closes on December 18.
It is understood the company will submitting its plans to the government planning inspectorate in spring 2021.
Due to the scale of the development, the planning inspectorate will make a final decision on behalf of the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.