Cleve Hill Solar Park

Update 11 July 2020

Council Obtains Legal Advice for Judicial Review

The Council has obtained legal advice over a judicial review to overturn a consent order for a 350 megawatt solar farm.

https://www.swale.gov.uk/graveney-marshes-solar-farm/

 

Update from GREAT 10 July 2020

Dear Residents of Graveney and Goodnestone                   ​​

This is undoubtedly the most difficult information we have had to share during our 2½ year campaign. Regrettably, we will not be pursuing a Judicial Review and therefore the Solar Power Station development on Graveney Marshes will happen.

On the 28th May, a consent order was granted to Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and Swale Borough Council’s barristers / planning lawyers have assessed all options within the legal constraints of the judicial review process. They found no grounds upon which the decision can be legally challenged. Therefore, the Secretary of State’s decision stands unchallenged by law.

We fought an admirable fight, based on fact and expert opinion, but could not sway the judgement of the National Inspectorate. Their professional opinion, combined with the lack of UK planning laws, proved no hindrance in reaching their decision. It seems that, in the Inspector’s opinion, the advantages of this project outweigh the harm – it is seen as for the benefit of the greater good.

We see a unique green landscape with an abundance of biodiversity, flora and fauna, the developers see the opportunity to build the LARGEST Solar Power Station in the UK, and the government see a private developer ticking a box to contribute to reducing UK emissions by 80% by 2050 regardless of the loss it will incur.

But GREAT campaign continues!
The developers still have a mountain to climb. Swale Borough Council have ongoing responsibility for monitoring, discharge and enforcement of the Development Consent Order (DCO) and at least twenty complex requirements of the DCO must be agreed before any works can start.

The Council is required to consult the Health and Safety Executive, Kent Fire & Rescue, Natural England and Kent County Council and have invited GREAT to be closely involved in this process with input into traffic management, battery safety, landscape and biodiversity management and means of enclosure to name but a few.

We will be seeking your comments and views on all of these issues in the coming months. We’ll also be refreshing our publicity and promotional materials.

We would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and encouragement.

From all at GREAT

For more information see www.savegraveneymarshes.org
With thanks to Emma Wilcox for this image of Graveney Marshes.

Update 29 May 2020

The application for Cleve Hill Solar Park has been granted development consent by the Secretary of State.

The decision letter can be read here.

In response to the decision, Cllr Stewart, Chair of the Parish Council, made the following statement:

‘Please see below the statement which has been issued by GREAT following the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the Development Consent Order for the Solar Park and battery storage compound. Having read through the lengthy decision letter what I find so disappointing is that the Examiners in their recommendations decided that the real and valid concerns expressed throughout the Enquiry on so many different aspects of the development were either largely unfounded , of minor significance , or could be accommodated within the final Management Plans for Construction Traffic and Battery Storage. I am very proud of the efforts which so many people have made in mounting a very credible opposition campaign against the scheme having regard to the significant resources which Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd had at their disposal throughout the process.

GREAT and the umbrella group which includes The Faversham Society and CPRE formed after the Enquiry have a virtual meeting this evening to review the decision in more detail and consider the options which may now be open to them to challenge this.’

Statement from GREAT (Graveney Rural Environment Action Group):

GREAT are incredibly disappointed to confirm that the Secretary of State has yesterday, 28th May 2020, decided under section 114 of the 2008 Act to make, with modifications, an Order granting development consent for the proposal by Cleve Hill Solar Park Limited to build a vast industrial Solar Power Station on Graveney Marshes.

The Secretary of State’s summary is as follows: 

The Secretary of State considers that there is a strong case for granting development consent for the Cleve Hill Solar Park. Given the national need for renewable energy infrastructure and the substantial weight the Secretary of State attaches to the contribution of this development to meeting that need the Secretary of State does not believe that this is outweighed by the Development’s potential adverse impacts, as mitigated by the proposed terms of the Order. 

Concerns about this development have certainly not gone away. GREAT will be taking stock, studying the modifications requested by the Secretary of State to the proposal and considering next steps with the fantastic team of supporters and experts that have formed this two year campaign. Please keep checking back for further news.’

 

Update August 2019

The project is now in the examination stage which means the Planning Inspectorate is in the process of holding hearings and looking at evidence. The deadline to complete the examination is 29th November 2019. The first round of hearings has now finished, but additional hearings may be held from 9th September. Information on deadlines, hearings and all evidence is available from the Planning Inspectorate website here. To view the submission made by Graveney with Goodnestone Parish Council, please click here.

Update December 2018

One year on, the project has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate. This does not mean that it will necessarily go ahead, merely that it will be examined and assessed.

All residents and other interested parties are encouraged to register with the Planning Inspectorate here. This will allow you to make representation and keep up to date with progress.

November 2017

The proposal to build Cleve Hill Solar Park was unveiled on Thursday 9th November 2017. Graveney with Goodnestone Parish Council is committed to working with the developers and residents to ensure the best possible outcome. At present, the proposals are in their infancy and we look forward to hearing more as time goes on.

GGPC is setting up a working party to deal with the proposal; residents should have received a letter about this. If you have not and would like to be involved, please contact the clerk. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

A local resident has set up a website about the proposal. You can visit it here. Please note, this is run independently of the parish council and any views expressed are not necessarily those of GGPC.

You can visit the developers’ website here.

You can see the developers’ briefing document here.

You can see the press release from GGPC here.