Sunnica Ltd is proposing to build a new energy farm with solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage infrastructure connecting to the Burwell National Grid Substation. The Scheme is located across four sites:
- Sunnica East Site A, near Isleham
- Sunnica East Site B, near Freckenham and Worlington
- Sunnica West Site A, near Chippenham and Kennett
- Sunnica West Site B, near Snailwell
The proposed Sunnica Energy Farm is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) because its proposed generating capacity is higher than 50MW. NSIPs are major developments which require planning permission to be granted by the relevant Secretary of State through a Development Consent Order (DCO).
Unlike local planning permissions, which are considered by local authorities, DCO applications are made to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). This independent body administers the application process on behalf of the relevant Secretary of State, including normally a maximum six month examination into the proposals with which interested parties can get involved. In this case, the appropriate government department is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The planning application for the application has been accepted and the process will be managed by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the final decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, not East Cambridgeshire District Council.
East Cambridgeshire District Council is a Statutory Consultee and will make representations on the application to PINS at the relevant times in accordance with the process set by PINS. Further information on the DCO application process and how to participate can be found on the National Infrastructure Planning website (external link)
The Council has submitted an Adequacy of Consultation Response to the Planning Inspectorate (part of the joint response issued by East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, West Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council). The submission documents can be found below:
On 16 March 2022 the Relevant Representation of East Cambridgeshire District Council under section 56 of the Planning Act 2008 in respect of the Sunnica Energy Farm application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The Relevant Representation document can be found below:
The Council has continued to work in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council to produce a joint Local Impact Report - a factual report which expands on the issues raised in the Relevant Representations:
A special Planning Committee meeting is to be held to consider East Cambridgeshire District Council's official response to Sunnica.
This meeting will take place on 3 November at The Mandeville Hall, Burwell from 10:30am.