New phase of public consultation starts on huge solar farm project at Mallard Pass near Peterborough

Public reaction secures changes to original proposals

By Paul Grinnell
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 5:00 am

Plans to build one of the UK’s largest solar farms on the edge of Peterborough are to undergo a new round of public consultation.

The 350MW Mallard Pass Solar Farm involves the installation of an unspecified number of solar panels across a 700 hectares site straddling the East Coast Main Line at Essendine, near Stamford.

Now the companies behind the venture - Windel Energy and Canadian Solar - will today (Thurs) start a second stage of consultations with residents, local authorities and other organisations.

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This map shows the location and scale of the proposed Mallard Pass Solar Farm.

The plans have come under fire from residents concerned at the impact on the countryside and on the quality of life for people living nearby.

The developers, who unveiled the plans late last year, say that after the initial consultation stage, changes have already been made to the proposals.

New measures include residential ‘buffer zones’, the creation of 108 hectares of wildflower and tussock grassland areas, the introduction of 4.7 kilometres of new permissive paths and the area to be used for solar panels and infrastructure has been cut by more than 100 hectares from the initial 880 hectares.

How much energy will Mallard Pass deliver?

Mallard Pass Solar Farm is expected to generate about 350 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to provide what the developers say will be reliable, low-cost electricity to the national grid.

They say the project has the potential to deliver enough energy to power the equivalent of 92,000 UK households.

Why is the solar farm important?

Gary Toomey, managing director of Windel Energy, said: “The first quarter of 2022 has demonstrated our vulnerability to volatile energy prices and international energy markets and our urgent need for new energy generation infrastructure, particularly from clean, low-cost sources such as solar.

“It is our ambition to deliver a project that provides reliable and sustainable energy to the national grid while responding sensitively to the local environment, providing opportunities for surrounding communities, and offering enhancements to native wildlife and biodiversity.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of our Stage Two Statutory Consultation, where we will present an updated design for Mallard Pass that responds to feedback.”

Who gets the final say:

As the plan is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng MP will decide whether to grant consent once a Development Consent Order application has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, which is expected later this year.

How can I have my say?

Public consultation events are taking place at:

June 17: 11am to 1pm: Webinar event

June 25: 11am to 5pm – Essendine Village Hall, Bourne Rd, Essendine, Stamford.

June 29: 3pm to 8pm – Stamford Town Hall, St Mary’s Hill, Stamford.

June 30: 3pm to 8pm – Greatford Village Hall, Carlby Road, Greatford.

July 1: 12.30pm to 4.30pm – Ryhall Village Hall, Church St, Ryhall, Stamford.

July 5: 6pm to 8pm: Webinar event

How can I find out more?

You can visit these Community Access Points (CAP):

Essendine Village Hall, Bourne Rd, Essendine: June 10 5pm–7 pm; June 17, 10am–noon.

Stamford Arts Centre, 27 St Mary’s St, Stamford: Monday – Saturday, 9am–10 pm.)

Ryhall Village Hall, Church St, Ryhall, Stamford: Monday – Friday, 9am–9 pm. Saturday and Sunday, 9am–noon.)

You can also visit: www.MallardPassSolar.co.uk