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MPs Gareth Davies and Alicia Kearns encourage opposition to Mallard Pass solar farm on Lincolnshire-Rutland border

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An action group that opposes a huge solar farm has the support of the MPs for Stamford and Rutland.

A second public consultation has begun for the Mallard Pass solar farm, this time giving people the opportunity to influence whether the energy scheme surrounding Essendine is given the go-ahead.

The plan has attracted criticism from many residents, including Tory MPs Gareth Davies (Stamford and Bourne) and Alicia Kearns (Rutland).

The area shaded green over Stamford is equivalent to 900 hectares. Google Maps / Daft Logic software
The area shaded green over Stamford is equivalent to 900 hectares. Google Maps / Daft Logic software

Mr Davies said: “I remain highly concerned by the proposed scale of the Mallard Pass project, and the potential severity of the impact this will have on the local countryside and nearby communities.

“This proposal could affect food production and negatively impact the natural beauty of our area through the scale of its anticipated land use, and I have made my feelings and those of my constituents that this is not acceptable extremely clear to Mallard Pass.

“The second round of consultation has now opened and I strongly urge residents to submit their views to the developers by August 4.”

MP Gareth Davies
MP Gareth Davies

Mrs Kearns has been critical of the solar farm’s potential impact on wildlife and has questioned whether forced labour would be used to make the solar panels in China.

She added: “Residents wishing to sign a petition against Mallard Pass can email my office at alicia.kearns.mp@parliament.uk and I will arrange for petition sheets to be posted to them. I will present the final petition to Parliament.”

Mallard Pass Action Group members, also against the solar farm, are delivering 5,000 leaflets to residents in areas that could be affected.

They have put up placards and banners around the proposed site - an area which would be larger than Stamford.

MP Alicia Kearns
MP Alicia Kearns

Sue Holloway, of Mallard Pass Action Group, said: “The first public consultation was not a statutory one - it was set up by Mallard Pass to gauge public opinion. It is absolutely crucial that people respond to this second consultation because these responses will be considered by the Government planning inspectorate before it determines whether or not the solar farm goes ahead.”

Sue suggests people take time to look at the information available on the proposal by visiting the action group’s website.

They can then email their response to: info@MallardPassSolar.co.uk and copy in their MP - alicia.kearns.mp@parliament.uk if they live in Rutland or gareth.davies.mp@parliament.uk if they live in Lincolnshire. They should also copy in their local county, district and parish councillor, whose email addresses can be found at www.mallardpassactiongroup.com/contacts.

“By doing this, the strength of feeling will be known by elected representatives, who will also be having their say,” said Sue.

Information can be collected from Ryhall Library (open Mondays, Thursday and Saturday morning), Stamford Arts Centre, and from Essendine Village Hall which is open today (Friday, June 10) from 5pm to 7pm.

The official Mallard Pass website has been updated with new information since the initial consultation and reflects some changes based on feedback.

All Stage Two consultation materials are available to view, download and print at www.MallardPassSolar.co.uk/documents.

There is a virtual exhibition at www.MallardPassSolar.co.uk/virtual-exhibition with all the information that will be displayed at the in-person events, including maps and visualisations of how the project could look and people can send feedback.

More views on Mallard Pass proposal

  • Tim Appleton, founder of Birdfair and Global Birdfair “The development would cancel out the territories of the farmland and hedgerow birds which are currently present. Banthorpe gravel pit is just outside their boundary but fields used by grazing geese and resting egrets and herons are within it. It also negates all the open land currently used by hunting red kites, buzzards and kestrels.”
  • Ron Simpson, chairman of Centre for the Protection of Rural England Rutland “Covering large swathes of the UK countryside with solar panels that could be more acceptably located on the roofs of commercial and domestic dwellings is definitely not the way forward. The Mallard Pass solar farm proposal is an outstanding example of how the nation should not address the challenge of climate change and our future energy needs. Its huge scale with consequential damage to the Rutland environment is unacceptable to CPRE Rutland and its membership. The charity is concerned that the project may be approved through a nationally determined planning application. Government can expect vigorous opposition to this project unless it is significantly scaled back and receives the support of neighbouring parishes and the local planning authority.”
  • John Clarkson, head of conservation at the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust “The local area (and Rutland) is important for wildlife, because the vegetation of the east is heavily influenced by the underlying limestone (while in the west heavy clay soils predominate - this means that there is quite a variety of different habitats present). Rutland contains some high quality SSSIs such as Rutland Water, Burley Wood, Merry’s Meadows, Seaton Meadows and Ketton Quarry. The species-rich neutral and limestone grasslands - of the quarries, meadows and some roadside verges - are particularly important for wildflowers and several species of invertebrate (such as glow-worms). Rutland is not a well-wooded county, but there are clusters of ancient woodlands. Many of these woodlands are valuable for their particularly old trees.”

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