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Sunnica asks for views about new 2,800 acre solar farm just outside Newmarket as consultation opens

Residents who could be surrounded by a huge new solar farm just outside Newmarket have been asked to give their thoughts on the scheme by the company wanting to build it.

The Sunnica solar facility, which will cover 2,800 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.

Luke Murray, project director of the scheme, said there had been a lot of interest in the scheme and Sunnica had been creating detailed proposals for the project which he hoped "would be acceptable to many people who live and work in the local community".

"Our focus has been on mitigating the impacts of the scheme in the area by looking at how we can reduce the size of the various elements of the scheme, locating them further away from settlements and increasing the level of environmental mitigation with a particular emphasis on visual amenity," he said.

The legally required consultation into the project started today, and is set to run to December 2.

Solar panels could be built on this site if the government give the scheme the go ahead.
Solar panels could be built on this site if the government give the scheme the go ahead.

To find out more about the scheme you can call 0808 168 7925, with a virtual consultation available online at sunnica.co.uk .

Freckenham Parish Council, whose members have raised concerns about the impact of the facility which when built will generate 50 megawatts of electricity, will be holding a awareness stall at its farmer's market on Saturday. At the stall residents will be able to find out more about the project and encouraged to give their views to Sunnica.

Sunnica has come under fire in the past from district councillors, with Cllr Julia Huffer at East Cambridgeshire District Council urging the company to "man up and meet residents and the parish councils".

Because the plans are so large district councillors, who would usually have the power to throw out or approve plans, will not be able to block it.

The sprawling facility, which will be based across five sites in the area and cover two counties, is considered a national strategic infrastructure project with the Government set to make the final call.

According to the consultation construction at the site could begin as soon as Autumn 2022 if the scheme is given the go ahead by the secretary of state.

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