|Belated Happy New Year, and welcome to all new members.|
To think that the Mallard Pass Solar Farm proposal only landed on our doormats on 4th November, the Action Group was formed on 2nd December, and the first stage consultation had finished by 16th December. A welcome break for all over Christmas and the New Year! The success of our activities is reflected in Mallard Pass receiving c900 contributions towards this first consultation. Thank you for all your support so far.
Behind the scenes a core group of people has been working hard to prepare for the next stage in the process. Sub groups have been set up to focus on the overall Strategy, Environment (farming/agriculture, bio-diversity, flooding), Technical (technologies, safety, security, health), Heritage, Traffic and Transport, Communications, Community Engagement, etc.
The issues are many and complex, from interpreting government policies to unpicking the NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) process, identifying and evidencing our key arguments. Of course this is not simple, as Mallard Pass themselves have furnished us with very little material information in the pre-consultation stage.
We are fighting the proposal on 2 levels: Through the NSIP process via the Planning Inspectorate. Mallard Pass are due to present a revised scope application to the Planning Inspectorate (PI) by the end of January. The Pl has 28 days to approve this. Mallard Pass and the local authorities (SKDC, LCC and RCC) will then collaborate on producing a draft Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC), before opening up the SoCC to the public in the Spring. This is a key step in the process where the public – you – will have a period of time to register as an ‘Interested Party’ and submit your feedback. The Action Group will clearly explain the next steps nearer the time and give guidance on suggested feedback. To say it’s complex is an understatement. Your ongoing support and contribution will be crucial during this phase. Politically. We will continue to build bridges and campaign through our MPs. Since Christmas we have had a meeting with both Alicia Kearns and Gareth Davies, giving them an opportunity to see the site and understand the key issues. We will continue maintaining dialogue, taking every opportunity to dovetail with their parliamentary activities. Also important is our campaign via both local councillors and planning officers to ensure they understand all the issues and fight on our behalf.
What else will we be doing? Strengthening the community engagement team – every village has a lead representative and team to support them with door-to-door activity. We still need more help, particularly in Ryhall, Belmesthorpe and Uffington. Please contact email@example.com. Researching and fine-tuning our key arguments. Finishing our website (all offers of help appreciated). Continuing to work closely with all types of media. Since the New Year we have had articles in the Mercury, the Village Diary, featured in The Lincolnite online, Byline Times, Active Magazine and an interview with BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Building our social media profile (nearly 500 Facebook followers, active Twitter handle, YouTube channel). This is a must see aerial video showing the visual impact through the use of mapping technologies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnYYxSxvAbY Creating call-to-action banners and signage at key times when we need residents to actively engage in the consultation process. A paper petition to present to the House of Commons as soon as the revised proposal is lodged with the Planning Inspectorate – there is no minimum signature requirement. Having joined the national Solar Campaign Alliance group with almost 30 members, we will be collaborating on strategy and building our knowledge base. They are doing an e-petition as there is a better chance with national coverage they could reach 100,000 signatures, the level required for an online petition to be debated in parliament. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/606663
How can you help? Talk to friends, family, neighbours in the area and show them some of the site. Seeing really is believing. Forward this newsletter, and direct people to sign up for our newsletter via our website. If you are interested in the detail go on to the Mallard Pass Solar Farm website and sign up for their email updates link. Also sign-up for email updates on the Planning Inspectorate website. https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/mallard-pass-solar-project/?ipcsection=advice Write to your MP and local councillors. The more objections they receive the better. Write to the Stamford Mercury. Let’s fill their letters pages. Don’t just follow us on Facebook, but share and comment on posts, track us down on Twitter.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved so far. We cannot win this battle without your continued and full support. We will keep you posted on all the latest developments.
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