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Villagers' fury at plans for 'horrifying' solar farm the size of 900 football pitches

Villagers have expressed their anger at proposals for a 2,600 acre solar farm they say could transform the region into an “industrial estate”. An area the size of 900 football pitches on the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire border has been earmarked for a new solar farm, which will affect villages around Newmarket, Soham and Mildenhall, including Freckenham and Badlingham.

They say it would destroy the area's rural character

Villagers have expressed their anger at proposals for a 2,600 acre solar farm they say could transform the region into an “industrial estate”.

An area the size of 900 football pitches on the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire border has been earmarked for a new solar farm, which will affect villages around Newmarket, Soham and Mildenhall, including Freckenham and Badlingham.

The proposals by Sunnica, a joint venture between Tribus Energy and PS Renewables, consist of three interlinking solar farms, which would be attached to the national grid at Burwell.

The Sunnica Energy Farm, is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 100,000 homes.

Although residents say they are enthusiastic about solar farms and renewable energy schemes, the size of this project has caused concern with a community action group called Say No to Sunnica formed to stop the energy company building the farm.

Members are now anticipating revised proposals from Sunnica before Christmas.

Say No to Sunnica spokesman Steve Wilson said: “I’m very pro-renewable energy, so I’m the most unlikely person to get involved with an anti-solar campaign.

“When... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

They say it would destroy the area's rural character

Villagers have expressed their anger at proposals for a 2,600 acre solar farm they say could transform the region into an “industrial estate”.

An area the size of 900 football pitches on the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire border has been earmarked for a new solar farm, which will affect villages around Newmarket, Soham and Mildenhall, including Freckenham and Badlingham.

The proposals by Sunnica, a joint venture between Tribus Energy and PS Renewables, consist of three interlinking solar farms, which would be attached to the national grid at Burwell.

The Sunnica Energy Farm, is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 100,000 homes.

Although residents say they are enthusiastic about solar farms and renewable energy schemes, the size of this project has caused concern with a community action group called Say No to Sunnica formed to stop the energy company building the farm.

Members are now anticipating revised proposals from Sunnica before Christmas.

Say No to Sunnica spokesman Steve Wilson said: “I’m very pro-renewable energy, so I’m the most unlikely person to get involved with an anti-solar campaign.

“When people hear about these plans, they assume it’s a good thing to do, but the average size of a solar plant ranges from 50 to 100 acres. These proposals are for 2,600 acres, and when we walked around the areas listed on Sunnica’s map, we realised we would be living in a solar power plant.

“The character of the villages would no longer be rural, we’d become a giant industrial site. It’s an injustice to have this inflicted upon us.”

Villagers have previously invited West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock to tour the areas affected.

But Mr Wilson believes one of the problems is that government legislation on solar panels is out of date, with the most recent document on solar strategy published in 2013.

He said: “I told Matt Hancock that the government needs to keep up with changes to environmental policy, lots has changed since 2013.

“The fact this is a national infrastructure project sweeps aside local planners, and creates a form of planning on steroids. It creates a burden for local people, and it will damage the natural environment, hinder the food production from our farms, and bring house prices down.

“The sheer scale of this project is horrifying people about the future of our villages, as our farms get turned into industrial parks, even though we need them for food production.”

He added: “We all need to wake up and understand what’s happening. The government legislation even says these schemes are most successful if they remain in the local community.

“And what if they find the scheme is unprofitable, or Sunnica goes bust, and they abandon it? Then we’ll be left to clean up their mess. Villagers will pay too high a price for a corporate get rich quick scheme.”

If the project goes ahead, construction is expected to begin in 2022.

Sunnica has been approached for comment.


Source: https://www.cambridge-news....

SEP 20 2019
https://www.windaction.org/posts/51883-villagers-fury-at-plans-for-horrifying-solar-farm-the-size-of-900-football-pitches
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