SAY NO TO SUNNICA

...Say Yes to the Environment!

The Say No to Sunnica Campaign supports Solar and other renewable technologies energy, but is against this proposed Sunnica development specifically. Renewable energy projects can be delivered without impacting the natural environment on a colossal scale. We want to ensure the countryside is preserved for the flora and fauna as well as for future generations to continue to enjoy.

​A healthy ecosystem plays a critical role in mitigating climate change; we believe we cannot afford to destroy our environment in a misguided approach to achieving Net-Zero.

There is also a growing realisation across the nation, and indeed across the globe, of the negative impacts of massive scale and uncontrolled deployment of solar farms. See our page on press articles which provides a range of independent views on this subject.

Key Points

Specific Concerns about the Sunnica proposal are set out below. Click on the expand button to read more about a particular subject.

Too Big

Solar Farms in this area are typically in the 20 to 250 acres size range. Sunnica’s proposal is for an industrial power plant, the largest in the UK and most likely in northern Europe, at about 2,500 acres (equivalent to 2,000 football pitches).  It stretches approximately 15 miles from start to finish and affects 16 parishes and towns. 

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Image courtesy of The Daily Mail

Industrial Landscape

The views over the landscape and the feel of the area would likely be changed forever with panels, batteries, fencing, noise and light pollution all dominating factors.  The characteristic rural environment would be turned into an industrial area.

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Image courtesy of THE COURIER Evening Telegraph

Inefficient

Sunnica is an inefficient use of economically valuable land, a 'hotch-potch' design comprising over 1 million panels spread across four sites with a cable route over 15 miles long to reach the connection point at Burwell.  This set up maximises impact on residents but will potentially suffer transmission losses.


The Burwell Grid will need to be expanded to accommodate the scheme. The cable-route criss-crosses roads, railway, rivers, streams, pathways and public rights of way. See this page on the comparison of solar PV to other energy forms.

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Unnecessary

The government solar strategy states a preference for ground-mounted solar to be developed on brownfield sites. There is no evidence that large scale solar development on valuable agricultural land is required to meet the country’s future energy needs.


Germany has already developed more than 40 GW of solar power (more than the UK currently has in the planning pipeline), with the vast majority of this being on rooftops.


There is a limit to the amount of solar power that the UK grid can manage, and there is an argument that this could be produced from existing "brownfield" locations as well as commercial and domestic rooftops.

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Image courtesy of Ecohardwood Flooring

Wasteful

The loss of agrictultural output from the 2.500 acres would likely have a negative impact on the local economy and the loss of food production.

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Decommissioning Concerns

There appears to be no provision of funds to clear up the site after 40 years or if the scheme goes bankrupt during its planned 40 year lifespan.

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Image courtesy of Heavy.com

Not For You, For Profit

This scheme is not 'green' and is not sustainable. It has not been developed with the support of local communities nor many of the affected landowners.


The solar output is proposed to feed into the National Grid at Burwell.  The BESS provide capacity to store the solar energy, as well as to draw additional excess energy from the Grid when demand is low and then sell it back to the Grid when demand (and prices!) are high.


There is likely to be a significant impact on the local economy (eg horse racing, industry, agriculture and potentially house prices). The many jobs that could be lost as a result of the scheme are predicted to be replaced by a small number of jobs (approximately 27) across the entire site during it's operational life of 40 years.

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Image courtesy of The Times

Harmful to Wildlife

The scheme has the potential to remove wildlife corridors, disturb nesting and feeding habitats which, once gone, may not be easily recovered.


The impact on our flora and fauna, including rare and protected species, could be significant.

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Image courtesy of Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Battery Safety Regulations

Lithium-ion batteries are proposed for the three Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) sites.  These have been known to overheat and go into thermal runaway; essentially a battery 'fire' which emits highly toxic gases, along with risk of explosion.  There have been over 35 Grid-scale BESS fires in the last three years across the globe and there is an urgent need for improvement to the safety regulations of these, since these are currently inadequate.


For more details see the page here which expands on the safety regulation concerns.

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Image courtesy of LI-ION TAMER

Potential Negative Effect on Health

Particularly during construction, residents both young and old with lung conditions such as COPD & Asthma are at risk from high levels of dust in the air that is potentially hazardous to human health.


The noise during construction and operation may also have a negative impact on health.

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Image courtesy of City of Shady Cove

Impossible To Screen

Whilst Sunnica have proposed screening mitigation in some areas of the scheme, there would many areas that would be impossible to hide. Open fields would be replaced by fenced off areas of panels and battery containers. Around 30 miles of 6m high fencing is likely to be needed to enclose the vast areas of panels and batteries.


Elevated aspects, such as the world famous Limekilns racing gallops in Newmarket, would look down over a vast sea of silicon and metal, in place of rolling green countryside. The 77 acres of battery energy storage installations and 12m high sub-station expansion cannot be adequately screened.


Even where screening could mitigate the visual impact of the scheme, the trees and shrubs would most likely take at least 15 years to become established, if they succeed at all. An entire generation of local residents would see the raw impact of the scheme for many years.

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Image courtesy of in.pinterest.com

Traffic Chaos

Through the estimated 2 years of construction of the Sunnica site, the contractor would need to bring in Heavy Goods Vehicles, (over 200 HGV movements per day at peak), including abnormal loads. This, along with over 1,600 staff vehicle movements per day at peak.  The proposal is for working hours to be Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.  This is likely to create significant noise and increased traffic through our villages and narrow rural lanes.  There are likely to be many road and footpath closures, diversions and muddy conditions to endure, as well as possible long term damage to narrow roads.

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Image courtesy of the BBC

Impact on Property Values

The opinion of local estate agents is that property prices in the area may well fall, thus reducing property values.


A number of local residents have talked of difficulties trying to sell their homes, linked to concerns about Sunnica, even before the scheme was formally submitted to planning.

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Image courtesy of National Mortgage Professional