Leicestershire MP’s solar farm proposal may cost UK households £5bn annually

The proposed area - North of Stamford and across Eastern Rutland

Experts have warned that if a proposed amendment to the Energy Bill, introduced by Conservative MP Alicia Kearns from Rutland and Melton, becomes law, it could collectively cost UK households up to £5bn annually.

This amendment aims to prevent the construction of large solar farms on highly productive farmland, specifically those over 500 acres in size where at least 20% of the land is deemed the best and most versatile for agriculture.

Analysts from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) argue that if this new law is approved, it could result in each UK household being up to £180 per year worse off, as the electricity produced would rely on more expensive gas generation.

The Energy Bill is currently in the report stage in the House of Commons which gives MPs the opportunities to add amendments.

Kearns has been actively opposing the construction of an 2,175-acre solar plant near Essendine and Ryhall in Rutland.

This project, known as ‘Mallard Pass,’ is eight times larger than the UK’s largest solar panel installation, meaning it requires government approval because Rutland County Council cannot grant permission for such a large development.

The proposed scheme is equivalent in size to 1,400 football fields and involves the installation of 530,000 panels, each 3.3 meters tall. The panels will be surrounded by extensive 2-meter fencing, and 52 separate field plots will be monitored by CCTV.

The solar project is currently under review by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities planning inspectorate board, and a decision is not expected until at least November.

Kearns supports the Mallard Pass Action Group, which is campaigning against the project, arguing that it’s too large for Rutland.

She has also raised concerns that the plant’s supply chain might be connected to forced labour among Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. However, the developer, Canadian Solar, has denied these allegations, stating that their internal investigations have found no evidence of such a connection.

Kearns said: “We all want to play our part in achieving Net Zero –  but this scheme would be a disaster for our environment, biodiversity, and our very way of life. Together with Mallard Pass Action Group and local Councillors, I’m working to convince the Government to take residents’ views into account – and stop this development”.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...