Sunnica's plans for 2,800 acre solar farm just outside Newmarket come under fire from Mayor James Palmer
Sunnica’s plans for a huge 2,800-acre solar farm just outside Newmarket have come under fire from the mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, who has blasted the project as too big and harmful to the landscape.
James Palmer, boss of the Cambridgeshire-based combined authority, said he was supportive of solar farms but to be acceptable ‘the scale of potential schemes and their impacts must not be significantly detrimental to the surrounding landscape and nearby communities’.
The Sunnica solar facility, which will cover thousands of acres of countryside if built, will cross both East Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk and stretch from a substation in Burwell to Snailwell, Newmarket, Freckenham, Worlington and Isleham.
There will be five separate sites, each connected by underground electricity cables.
“I believe that the scale of the Sunnica proposal as a national infrastructure project requires it to be exemplary in avoiding such detrimental impacts, but the scale itself seems to make the impact disproportionately high as the scheme currently stands,” he said.
“I note the landscaping elements in the proposal, but I am aware of significant concerns amongst nearby residents. These need to be addressed.”
And he feared his plans for a metro system, which would connect Cambridge to Mildenhall, could be affected by the cable corridor connecting the solar plant to the National Grid in Burwell.
“The proposed energy farm, and cable corridor, is sited between Cambridge and Mildenhall and although exact routes of the project have yet to be decided I am anxious to avoid any conflict with the potential route and operation of the CAM [Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro].”
The mayor, who faces an election this year, added: “I fully expect the proposal to make any necessary provisions to facilitate the potential CAM route.”