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MPs pledge to stand with their constituents in opposing 2,700 acre solar farm

MPs have said they will stand with their constituents in opposing a controversial solar farm set to surround villages just outside Newmarket.

Lucy Frazer and Matt Hancock have hit out at Sunnica’s proposals to build a 2,700 acre solar facility, and have said they opposed the company’s current plans in their response to the company's statutory consultation.

In a joint letter to the energy company, the Conservative MPs said the scale of the project was 'unprecedented', and said the latest proposals did not locate the power plant at an appropriate distance from homes.

Matt Hancock and Lucy Frazer are both against the scheme in its current form.(43484582)
Matt Hancock and Lucy Frazer are both against the scheme in its current form.(43484582)

They have also questioned the loss of agricultural land, concerns about fire risk, decommissioning the power plant, and the impact on the biodiversity of the area.

If approved, the facility would stretch across both East Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk, sprawling from a substation in Burwell to panels in Snailwell, Newmarket, Freckenham, Red Lodge, Worlington and Isleham.

Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said many people in the area had shown their support to renewable energy and were keen to see what more they can do to support green initiatives.

"However, I share their view that this project goes too far, and is not in keeping with the nature of the local area," he said.

"Many of my constituents have concerns over safety, environment, and decommissioning, and I am not satisfied that these issues have been fully addressed. I therefore oppose Sunnica’s proposed project in its current form.”

And Mrs Frazer, MP South East Cambridgeshire, said she was proud of the contribution solar farms in her consistency made towards the country's effort to reach its zero emissions target.

"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," she said. "I therefore oppose the proposals as set out by Sunnica in their statutory consultation."

Their objections to the proposals come after both MPs held virtual meetings with their constituents in which residents highlighted their concerns about the proposed project.

Sunnica's statutory consultation is open until December 18. For more information you can call the company on 0808 168 7925.

Because of the size of the project it will side step the normal planning process, and elected councillors at West Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire District Council's not having the chance to vote on the scheme.

Instead Sunnica will apply for a Development Consent Order. A final decision will be taken by the Planning Inspectorate, and will be signed off by Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Campaigners against the solar farm are tomorrow hosting an online event at 7pm tomorrow, in which presentations will be given from local councillors, wildlife experts and speakers from groups fighting similar proposals in Kent and Essex.

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