Image courtesy of Daily Mail
Welcome to the Say No to Sunnica Community Action Group Ltd Campaign Website
Sunnica Ltd has submitted its proposal for a massive 2,500 acre solar farm situated across the borders of West Suffolk and East Cambridgeshire.
If approved this would be the largest solar farm in the UK, if not Northern Europe and will have a significant impact on the local environment, both during construction and operation of the scheme.
The scheme would stretch around 15 miles from start to finish, affecting 16 parishes and towns, segmenting communities along it's path.
The Say No to Sunnica campaign is not against solar power or other renewables, but we consider the proposed Sunnica Solar Farm to be a bad renewable energy scheme. To find out more please have a look at the following pages on our site...
The Sunnica proposal, which provides an overview of the scheme and provides links to more information if you would like to read up on the scheme in more detail.
The Campaign which describes the work of the Say No to Sunnica Campaign and the reasons why we consider this to be a "bad" scheme.
The page on press articles presents a number of indepedent articles that highlight the growing awareness of the negative impacts of large scale ground-mounted solar farms like that proposed by Sunnica.
If you would like to get involved or support our campaign, please see the page on getting involved.
Important Sunnica Update October 2022
The Examination of the UK’s Biggest Solar and Battery Farm has Started
The long-anticipated Examination of the vast Sunnica solar and battery plant application began on Thursday 29th September with the first of a number of Accompanied Site Inspections. The Examining Authority (ExA) who have been appointed to review the proposal visited sites at the Sunnica West B area (next to Fordham and Chippenham Fen) and also in and around the world-famous Limekilns gallops in Newmarket.
The Examination will last for 6 months and is your final chance to have your views heard.
We need your help
Please ask the Say No to Sunnica community action group (contact details below) or your Parish Council for help with:
1. Submitting your detailed objections to the scheme in the form of a “Written Representation” to the ExA before 11th November 2022 (known as Deadline 2). This is open to registered parties and involves writing down your opinions, along with any supporting evidence if needed (photos, maps, other relevant information) to explain your concerns. Upload this to the planning inspectorate website using the ‘Make a Submission’ link. Details on: EN010106-002903-Sunnica Rule 8 letter - 04 October 2022 .pdf (planninginspectorate.gov.uk) Any submission over 1500 words will also need an executive summary (no more than 10% of the original text). If you have not yet registered to take part in the Examination it may still be possible, at the ExA’s discretion, to submit a representation (e.g. you may have recently moved here, etc).
2. Attending the hearings that will take place between 6-9th Dec 2022 and 14-17th Feb 2023. There will be general hearings (called Open Floor Hearings) as well as more focused sessions on a particular topic (called Issue Specific Hearings). Please do request to speak at these before 19th October 2022 (known as Deadline 1). Even if it’s just to re-affirm/ explain some of the comments that you have put in your Written Representation. To register participation at a hearing, you’ll need to fill out the event participation form at Events Participation Form (office.com) Priority to speak at these sessions goes to registered parties, but the ExA will also open the floor to others in attendance if there is sufficient time.
3. Attending the Accompanied Site Inspections (ASI) that will take place on 2nd Nov (East Site A and East site B) and 3rd Nov 2022 (West Site A), with a possible further ASI around 14th Feb 2023. Please register to attend an ASI before 19th October 2022 (Deadline 1).
Please do register your participation before the above deadlines and if you need to amend later you can let the case team at the planning inspectorate know.
The 2500-acre (over 1400 football pitches) Sunnica scheme would be the biggest solar and battery plant in the UK, if not Europe. It would comprise over 1 million solar panels (2.5m high) with 3 large lithium-ion battery energy storage compounds, known as BESS and 3 large substations located near to Isleham/West Row (East Site A), Chippenham/Snailwell (West Site A) and Red Lodge/Freckenham (East Site B). These are significant, industrial structures.
The perimeter of the solar fields will be fenced off (2.5m high fencing) and the panel arrays in the fields will be interspersed with 3.5m high solar stations (housing transformers etc). As well as CCTV on poles (ca. 5m high) and weather stations (ca. 6m high).
The Sunnica scheme would stretch for around 15 miles from one end (near Isleham/ West Row) to the other end (at Burwell) and would affect 16 parishes and towns along its path.
It is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) like HS2, Sizewell C, etc. and will supply energy into the National Grid.
The Examiners are not local to this area. They need your input to help them understand what this area means to you and how you would be affected by the Sunnica scheme if it went ahead. They want to hear about things such as:
The visual impact of the scheme (the solar panels, security fencing, BESS compounds, substations etc). How does this affect you/ your enjoyment of the area? Your lifestyle?
What do you value about the area – how you use the area, what does it mean to you, your friends, your family
Loss of high yielding, irrigated farmland (the scheme is entirely on greenfield land)
Any concerns about wildlife impacts, potential loss of species etc or impacts on heritage assets, local history?
Are you affected by the compulsory acquisition required by the applicant? If so, please be sure to get involved in the Compulsory Acquisition Hearings that will take place. Register by 19th October 2022
Do you have any objections to the lithium-ion BESS storage compounds? If approved, the Li-BESS would be amongst the biggest in the world. There have been many serious fire incidents at Grid scale lithium-ion BESS compounds over the past few years
Have you considered the traffic and access impacts or any potential noise impacts?
Assessments of alternatives/ choice of location – are there other sites that have not been considered? Do you have a view on hosting the Sunnica scheme in this area alongside the 20 or so solar farms already in operation/under construction here (plus others in the pipeline)?
Given that this scheme is unlikely to be carbon neutral over its lifetime, how do you feel about the contribution it would make to our net zero targets
Or any other points you feel you wish to make – this is your last opportunity to make them
We really appreciate your help with this. Thank You
Please see the page here which describes the planning process in more detail.