The 350MW solar farm is being developed by Canadian Solar and Windel Energy. Image: Pixabay

The Mallard Pass solar farm under development between Windel Energy and Canadian Solar is continuing to progress through the planning process despite continued opposition.

An Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report has now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration, with this describing the process that will be undertaken to assess how the project may affect the local environment.

A project community newsletter has also been published and posted to the approximately 13,000 properties located within the vicinity of the proposed solar farm, with this summarising the feedback received through Stage One of the public consultation by Mallard Pass Solar Farm.

The 350MW solar farm, which is to be located on land in South Kesteven in Lincolnshire and in Rutland, has already faced public opposition.

Sarah Price, planning lead for Mallard Pass, said that there was a “high level of initial opposition” to the early proposals, but that this feedback is allowing Mallard Pass “understand the basis for those concerns and to look at how they can be addressed as we refine our proposals”.

“This feedback has helped our team to improve our understanding of the local area and the aspects of Mallard Pass that local communities consider most important for us to prioritise as we further develop our proposals,” Price said.

Most recently, opposition has come from MP for Rutland and Melton Alicia Kearns, who spoke out against the solar farm in a debate in the House of Commons on UK-Taiwan Friendship and Co-operation on 10 February. Kearns said Mallard Pass is “being developed by a de facto Chinese company with supply chains reaching into Xinjiang”, referencing the accusations of forced labour practices and human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, home to several polysilicon producers including Hoshine Silicon Industry, one of the world’s largest producers of raw polysilicon, as well as products using the raw material.

Last year, the US government announced it would be blocking the imports of some solar products with links to Xinjiang, with Canadian Solar, alongside LONGi, JinkoSolar and Trina Solar all later having module shipments seized in the US, with all four having ties to Hoshine.

While the UK has not banned imports from Xinjiang, the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee has previously called for a ban, while in summer 2021 the UK government told Solar Power Portal it was “thoroughly investigating reports of forced labour in the global solar panel supply chain”.

Solar Power Portal has contacted Mallard Pass for a response to Kearns’ comments.