Decision details

Sunnica Energy Farm Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP): West Suffolk Council's Local Impact Report

Decision Maker: Portfolio Holder for Planning

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


The Portfolio Holder for Planning will be asked to consider and approve West Suffolk Council’s Local Impact Report in connection with the Sunnica Energy Farm NSIP project proposals. (Note that this will be a joint Local Impact Report prepared in conjunction with Suffolk County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.)




That the submission of the Local Impact Report, by the required deadline of 19 October 2022 be approved (A summary of which is set out in Appendix 1 to Report number CAB/WS/22/047).


Reasons for the decision:

Sunnica Energy Farm was a scheme for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating panels and on-site battery energy storage systems (BESS) across two sites within Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The proposal would include the infrastructure associated with the required connection to the national grid, which would either involve an extension to the Burwell National Grid Substation or the installation of the necessary equipment within the solar panel sites to enable the generated power to be transported to the grid.


The Local Impact Report was defined in s60(3) of the Planning Act 2008 as ‘a report in writing giving the details of the likely impact of the proposed development on the authority’s area (or any part of that area)’.  Local authorities were encouraged to cover any topics they considered relevant to the impact of the proposed development on their area.  The Local Impact Report was the means by which the local authority could use its existing body of local knowledge and evidence on local issues to provide a full and robust report to the Examining Authority.


The scheme was located across four sites within Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.  Given that the impact of the development would be felt across four local authority boundaries, the preparation of a joint Local Impact Report by West Suffolk Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Suffolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council was considered to be the most appropriate way to provide the Examining Authority with a full and robust assessment of the impacts.


Appendix 1 to Report number CAB/WS/22/047 was a summary of the key environmental topics addressed within the joint Local Impact Report.  The full Impact Report would continue to be developed and refined by all four local authorities, prior to its submission on or before 19 October 2022.


Alternative options considered:

The Local Impact Report was one of the key documents prepared by the local authorities responsible for the area(s) in which the proposed development was located.  The Examining Authority would take the contents of the Local Impact Report into account in its assessment of the application and its recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether Development Consent should be granted.  If the Council did not submit a Local Impact Report the Examining Authority would not have the benefit of the local knowledge and expertise of the local authority in assessing the impacts of the development.


Notwithstanding the above, the examination process was designed to thoroughly test the key issues that have arisen and the Council would have the opportunity to make its views known in its written and oral submissions.

Publication date: 05/10/2022

Date of decision: 13/10/2022

Accompanying Documents: