Solar energy project: Suffolk County Council finds plans 'flawed'

Image source, Sunnica
Image caption,
Sunnica wants to create a giant solar energy farm on land spanning the Suffolk-Cambridgeshire border

Plans for a huge solar energy farm are "flawed" and fail to give enough weight to its environmental impact, a council report claims.

Energy firm Sunnica wants to build what could be Europe's largest solar farm, spanning 1,130 hectares (2,792 acres) around five villages near Newmarket, Suffolk.

The firm said the county council report would help its consultation.

But some villagers claim the panels will dominate and damage the landscape.

The affected villages are Mildenhall, Freckenham, Worlington, Barton Mills and Red Lodge in Suffolk; and Chippenham, Snailwell, Fordham and Burwell in Cambridgeshire.

Image source, Sunnica
Image caption,
A spokesman for Sunnica said animals would still be able to graze on the land

Isabel Cross, of Say No To Sunnica Group, said: "Virtually every road through every village will have, at some point, large fields full of solar arrays surrounded by 6ft (2m) deer fences."

The council's report said the plan's assessment of visual impact was inappropriate or incomplete, and not enough information had been provided about reducing climate change emissions.

A definition of the quality of the agricultural land was also in dispute.

Luke Murray, Sunnica's project manager, said report provided useful information for the consultation process.

He said: "It's exactly what we need at this point in the process. But it's important to reflect that it is called the preliminary environmental information report and is a snapshot."

The consultation period will end on 2 December 2020 and Sunnica said it would change its plans in line with feedback.

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