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General Election adds further delay to decision on Sunnica solar farm which would affect West Suffolk communities





A long-delayed decision on whether a huge solar farm can be built on land around villages near Newmarket has been deferred once again due to the General Election.

A Government ruling over the 2,500-acre farm, which is the equivalent of about 2,000 football pitches, has been postponed multiple times.

In April, Claire Coutinho, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, re-set the statutory deadline for the application to June 20.

Campaigners have been fighting Sunnica's solar farm plan for years
Campaigners have been fighting Sunnica's solar farm plan for years

However, due to the General Election on July 4 no development consent decisions will be taken.

A further update will be announced following the General Election.

Residents in Chippenham, Isleham, Freckenham, Fordham, West Row, Worlington, Burwell, Barton Mills, Red Lodge and Snailwell would all be affected by the solar farm, which has been met with fierce opposition.

Residents in Chippenham, Isleham, Freckenham, Fordham, West Row, Worlington, Burwell, Barton Mills, Red Lodge and Snailwell would all be affected by the solar farm, which has been met with fierce opposition
Residents in Chippenham, Isleham, Freckenham, Fordham, West Row, Worlington, Burwell, Barton Mills, Red Lodge and Snailwell would all be affected by the solar farm, which has been met with fierce opposition

The development application, which was the subject of several lengthy public inquiries, was set to be decided at the start of 2023.

This was later moved to September and then back yet again to December when Ms Coutinho took over the role of Secretary of State from Grant Schapps at the end of August.

In December, on the day her decision was due to be announced, she gave no reason for a postponement of another three months setting a new deadline which expired on March 7.

This was again pushed back to April 11 and then June 20.

The Say No to Sunnica Community Action Group said the farm would be built on some of the UK’s best, high-yielding irrigated farmland and has questioned the design and location.

Sunnica Ltd has previously said the proposals meet an urgent national need for new sources of renewable energy generation.

It said its site selection process assessments found the area to be a suitable location for a development of this size.