Cleve Hill Solar Park

The list below includes a record of advice we have provided for this project. For a list of all advice issued by the Planning Inspectorate, including non-project related advice, please go to the Register of advice page.

There is a statutory duty, under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008, to record the advice that is given in relation to an application or a potential application, including the name of the person who requested the advice, and to make this publicly available.

Preview
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Enquiry from Sim Evan-Jones by email on 25 November 2018:

Hi,

I live in faversham and I’m really not happy about Cleve Hill Solar ‘Park’. It an amazing unspoilt location that will be devastated. Its way too big a development and Faversham is already losing acres and acres of farm land to the building of 1000 homes across 4 massive Greenfield sites.
Advice given by email on 19 December 2018:

Dear Sim Evan-Jones,

Thank you for your recent email where you indicate that you are not happy about the Cleve Hill Solar Park application.

On the 14 December the 2018 the Secretary of State decided that the application for the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park satisfied the acceptance tests under section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) and was accepted for Examination.

If you would like to register your views on this application we recommend that you register as an Interested Party (IP). This means that you will be invited to the Preliminary Meeting where you can ask to speak about the timetable for the Examination and other important organisational details.

Once the examination of the application has started, as an Interested Party, you will also then have an opportunity to provide further written evidence on any issues that concern you and will be able to speak at hearings. If registered as an Interested Party you will be informed of the progress of the examination, and once it is concluded, you will be notified of the decision.

If you do not register as an Interested Party, there is no guarantee that your representation will be taken into account. Whilst the Examining Authority does have discretion to accept written representations even from people who have not submitted a valid relevant representation, this should not be relied upon because people who are not Interested Parties have no legal entitlement to participate.

We strongly advise that the registration process is used by all persons wishing to be involved in the examination. Unfortunately it is not possible for us to register on your behalf therefore we recommend that you register online through our website:

[attachment 1]

Please note that the deadline to submit a relevant representation is on Monday 28 January 2019.

Further information on how to get involved in the planning process, and register and become an interested party, can be found in the Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 8.3 available at: [attachment 2].

Advice on participating in the examination can also be found in Advice Note 8.5 available at: [attachment 3].

DCLG Guidance Planning Act 2008: Guidance for the examination of applications for development consent is also available at:

[attachment 4].

This guidance sets out in paragraphs 15-34 guidance on who can take part in examining the application

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Cleve Hill Solar Park Case team at the project's mailbox at the following email address [email protected]

19 December 2018
Sim Evan-Jones
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Enquiry from Michael Wilcox by email on 13 December 2018:

Hi,

I have a few questions about registering as an Interested Party. I know the registration period is not yet open pending acceptance.

1. If the project is accepted (tomorrow), am I right in thinking that the registration period is likely to open within a couple of days?

2. I have noticed that on some NSIPs the registration period doesn't open until a few weeks after acceptance. What is the most likely timescale for this project?

3. Please can you tell me about registering as an Interested Party for the CHSP project by post? Does everyone who wants to do it by post have to call the phone number on the site, or can you make a printable form available online?

4. Will paper forms be returnable by freepost or will people have to pay for stamps?

5. What consideration will be given if the period of registration spans the Christmas break? Does the 28 days include bank holidays?

6. Do you have any examples of what the paper form looks like?
Advice given by email on 19 December 2018:

Dear Mr Wilcox,

Thank you for your email of 13 December 2018 where you enquired about how to submit a Relevant Representation on a paper form.

As you are aware the Application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on the 16 November 2019. On the 14 December 2018 the Secretary of State decided that the application for the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park satisfied the acceptance tests under section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) and it was accepted for Examination.

If you would like to register your views on this application we recommend that you register as an Interested Party (IP). This means that you will be invited to the Preliminary Meeting where you can ask to speak about the timetable for the Examination and other important organisational details.

Once the Examination of the application has started, as an IP, you will also then have an opportunity to provide further written evidence on any issues that concern you and will be able to speak at hearings. If registered as an IP you will be informed of the progress of the examination, and once it is concluded, you will be notified of the decision.

If you do not register as an IP there is no guarantee that your representation will be taken into account. Whilst the Examining Authority does have discretion to accept written representations even from people who have not submitted a valid relevant representation, this should not be relied upon because people who are not Interested Parties have no legal entitlement to participate.

We strongly advise that the registration process is used by all persons wishing to be involved in the examination. You can submit a Relevant Representation and request as an IP either electronically or by post. If you wish to register online you can do this through our website see link below;

[attachment 1]

If you wish to submit a Relevant Representation and register as an IP on a paper form you will need to either call the Planning Inspectorate on 0303 444 5000, or contact the Cleve Hill Case Team via the project mailbox [email protected] Then a paper form containing a unique reference will be sent to you. The form askes the same questions as the online form.

If you wish to have a paper form sent to you please can you submit your let us have your address. The Planning Inspectorate does not provide a Freepost envelope.

The Relevant Representation period ends on Monday 28 January 2019.

Further information on how to get involved in the planning process, and register and become an interested party, can be found in the Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 8.3 available at: [attachment 2].

Advice on participating in the examination can also be found in Advice Note 8.5 available at: [attachment 3].

DCLG Guidance Planning Act 2008: Guidance for the examination of applications for development consent is also available at:

[attachment 4].

This guidance sets out in paragraphs 15-34 guidance on who can take part in examining the application

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Cleve Hill Solar Park Case team at the project's mailbox at the following email address:
[email protected]

19 December 2018
Michael Wilcox
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Enquiry from Stephen Ledger by email on 08 December 2018:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have attended open sessions and read the November 2018 Cleve Hill Solar Park Community Newsletter with their final changes and have concluded that I am against their proposals based on the following:-

In summary the proposal takes away agricultural land which is used for growing grain and creates an inappropriate industrial type site on the Internationally important North Kent Marshes. These two strategic disadvantages outweigh the benefits gained from solar power which are more appropriately sited on land which has less agricultural production capabilities and do not impact on such an Internationally important wildlife area.

I farm on some of the other North Kent Marshes and the new Agricultural Bill is all about increasing productivity, which I have planned to do. To take away so much agricultural land from grain production works against the strategy being established by the new Agricultural Bill.

The proposed area has Ramsar Wetlands to its West, North and East with designations of Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA). Taking an overview, by looking at a the map of the wider area, the site forms part of the North Kent Marshes unbroken rural landscape. This extends to the east of the Ramsar designation even though not included in its designation. If approved it will mean that this unbroken rural landscape will be fragmented with too large an industrial area.

I find the late inclusion of the seawall area in the proposal inappropriate. Undue influence may/has be/been put on the Environment Agency (EA) who had already published their Medway Estuary and Swale Strategy (MEASS). There is now a mention of a plan B which was not in the EA's original plan. The EA must remain totally independent to follow through on their own plans rather than now come under undue pressure to work with the narrower needs of a Solar Farm.

The Cleve Hill Solar Park newsletter reads as though many local concerns have been taken into consideration, which no doubt some have. However, to extend the area and then state that the area to be covered by solar panels is reduced to 45.5% of the development area is simply a play on words and does not change the fact that, if approved, an enormous rural/wildlife area will be covered by solar panels which, in my view, is simply too high a cost. The benefit is only around half a percentage of the UK's energy needs, for houses, and less when other energy needs are taken into consideration.

We need to increase renewable energy but to use the capacity of the Cleve Hill station for solar power is perhaps the wrong strategy when this capacity should be reserved for the needs of a future off-shore wind farm as that technology develops.

In more detail I believe that the type of solar panels are far too high for such a flat area and hence will have a significant adverse impact on the rural area.
Advice given by email on 19 December 2018:

Dear Mr Ledger

Thank you for your recent email in which you give your reasons why you are against the Cleve Hill Solar Park proposals.

The Application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on the 16 November 2019, and on the 14 December the 2018 the Secretary of State decided that the application for the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park satisfied the acceptance tests under section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) and was accepted for Examination.

If you would like to register your views on this application we recommend that you register as an Interested Party (IP). This means that you will be invited to the Preliminary Meeting where you can ask to speak about the timetable for the Examination and other important organisational details.

Once the examination of the application has started, as an Interested Party, you will also then have an opportunity to provide further written evidence on any issues that concern you and will be able to speak at hearings. If registered as an Interested Party you will be informed of the progress of the examination, and once it is concluded, you will be notified of the decision.

If you do not register as an Interested Party, there is no guarantee that your representation will be taken into account. Whilst the Examining Authority does have discretion to accept written representations even from people who have not submitted a valid relevant representation, this should not be relied upon because people who are not Interested Parties have no legal entitlement to participate.

We strongly advise that the registration process is used by all persons wishing to be involved in the examination. Unfortunately it is not possible for us to register on your behalf therefore we recommend that you register online through our website:

[attachment 1]

Please note that the deadline to submit a relevant representation is on Monday 28 January 2019.

Further information on how to get involved in the planning process, and register and become an interested party, can be found in the Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 8.3 available at: [attachment 2].

Advice on participating in the examination can also be found in Advice Note 8.5 available at: [attachment 3].

DCLG Guidance Planning Act 2008: Guidance for the examination of applications for development consent is also available at:

[attachment 4].

This guidance sets out in paragraphs 15-34 guidance on who can take part in examining the application

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Cleve Hill Solar Park Case team at the project's mailbox at the following email address:
[email protected]

19 December 2018
Stephen Ledger
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Please see attached
Dear Mr Wilcox,

Thank you for your email and attached letter of 10 October 2018. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

As explained in our previous reply to you of 13 July 2018 as the project has not yet been submitted to the Inspectorate, the Inspectorate has no formal powers to intervene on consultees’ behalf and we are therefore not in a position to supervise the statutory consultation process conducted by the Applicant.

As you have raised concerns over the Applicant’s consultation, and as the Inspectorate advised previously, if you have not already done so, write to your local authority and set out why you think the Applicant is failing/or has failed to conduct is consultation properly. Your comments sent to local authorities should be considered when they provide Adequacy of Consultation responses to the Inspectorate on whether the Applicant has fulfilled its consultation duties. The local authority’s comments on the Applicant’s consultation will be taken into account when the Examining Inspectors makes his/her decision whether to accept the Application for examination.

The Inspectorate can also consider your comments in addition to the statutorily required Acceptance tests when making the decision about whether or not to accept the application under section 55 of the Planning Act 2008. It will be for the decision maker (the Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State) to decide the weight to give to the views expressed in your comments based on the individual facts of the case.

If the application is accepted for examination you will have the opportunity to make representations about the merits of the application to an appointed Examining Authority at the appropriate time.

For information, please see link below to Advice Note 8 which sets out an overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others. [attachment 1].

We understand that the application is due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on Friday 16 November 2018.

Please note, in accordance with Section 51 of the PA2008, a summary of your query and our advice will be published on the project’s webpage of the National Infrastructure Website.

Thank you

13 November 2018
Graveney Rural Environment Action Team - anon.
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see attached meeting note

24 October 2018
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I am writing to ask if it is possible for members of the GREAT campaign and myself to maybe meet with you. I understand you are available to meet with the developers but am unsure if the same offer is extended to residents and stakeholders.
Thank you for your email on behalf of the GREAT campaign group.

Further to our telephone conversation, may I advise you that there is a great deal of information available to members of the public on our website, which includes advice about the nationally significant infrastructure planning process (NSIP) and how they can get involved during the examination stage.

At this stage the Planning Inspectorate can only advise the public on process related queries, and the public should be directing any project related queries to the developer during this current pre-application stage. I would therefore encourage you and the members of the GREAT campaign group to continue to contact the developer directly with regard to concerns you have. The developer has a statutory duty to have regard to all consultation responses received and this should be demonstrated in the Consultation Report they submit as part of their Development Consent Order (DCO) application.

If you have concerns about the way in which the developer is carrying out the pre-application consultation, I would advise you to write to your local authority and set out why you think the developer is failing to conduct its consultation properly. Once the application is submitted the Inspectorate will request the relevant local authorities’ view on the adequacy of the consultation. Your comments should be taken into account when the local authority sends in its comments on whether the developer has fulfilled its consultation duties. The local authority’s comments will be taken into account when the Acceptance Inspector makes their decision whether to accept the application for Examination.

Should the DCO application be accepted by the Inspectorate for examination, the applicant has a duty to notify the local community when providing information on how to register as an Interested Party for the purpose of the process. The process under the Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008) has been designed to allow members of the public and statutory stakeholders to participate in the examination of all DCO applications so that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any relevant matters can be fully engaged in the examination process.

During the examination, the Examining Authority has a duty to take into account all matters assessed by the applicant in the Environmental Statement and may ask additional questions as required.

The Planning Inspectorate has produced several Advice Notes to help provide an overview of the Planning Act 2008 process and the opportunities to get involved.

They are available at the following link:
[attachment 1]

Of particular relevance is Advice Note 8 ‘Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others’.

At the current pre-application stage we would also recommend Advice Note 8.1: ‘Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation’ and Advice Note 8.2: ‘How to register to participate in an Examination’.

I can assure you that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any planning matters can be fully engaged in the examination process.

Please note, in accordance with Section 51 of the PA2008, a summary of your query and our advice will be published on the project’s webpage of the National Infrastructure website.

If you or the GREAT group require any further advice about the National Infrastructure process please contact the Cleve Hill Case team at the Planning Inspectorate. They can be contacted by email via the project mailbox at [email protected] or via the Customer Services Team on telephone number 0303 444 5000.

07 September 2018
Graveney Rural Environment Action Team (GREAT) - Vicky Ellis
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
The Faversham Society's views on the Consultation Process - please see attachment 1
Please see attached advice - attachment 2

20 August 2018
The Faversham Society - Harold Goodwin
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see attached meeting note

13 August 2018
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd
Enquiry received via phone
response has attachments
Telephone enquiry by Vicky Ellis
Response by email on 17 July 2018:

Dear Vicky,

As discussed, I have had a look into the meaning of the statement: ‘The Applicant has been discussing the possibility of disallowing legislation relating to the EA’, as documented in the meeting note of 30 April 2018.

Whilst the Applicant has not yet provided details of specific discussions with the Environment Agency (EA), I have found some background information which I hope is useful, which comes from Annex D of the Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 11: Working with Public Bodies: [attachment 1].

The Applicant is considering the possibility of ‘disapplying’ some of the EA’s legislation, to enable it to undertake any necessary maintenance works to the flood defences. So that was a typo in the meeting note. In summary, disapplying EA legislation means:

•Section 120 of the Planning Act 2008 allows other types of consents to be included in a Development Consent Order (DCO - which is the type of planning permission required for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project such as Cleve Hill Solar Park), meaning that they would be consented through the DCO, rather than through a separate consenting route.

•Section 150 of the Planning Act provides that for ‘prescribed’ consents (which are defined in the Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties and Miscellaneous Prescribed Provisions) Regulations 2015; the relevant body (in this case, the EA) must consent to the inclusion of the consent in the DCO.

•Where the EA agrees that a DCO can remove the requirement to obtain the specified separate consent, they usually make their consent conditional on the inclusion of ‘protective provisions’ (which are essentially to ‘protect’ the interests of statutory bodies, whose assets or functions may be affected by the proposed development) within in the DCO, to enable the risk associated with the activity to be managed. This process is usually referred to as agreeing to ‘disapply’ the legislation specified in the DCO.

So if an Applicant intends to disapply any EA legislation, this would need to be discussed and agreed with the EA (before the application is submitted, or during the Examination, if the application is accepted).

We will seek a progress update on this matter at our next meeting with the Applicant and document this in the meeting note.

I trust that this assists, but if you have any further queries, please do get in touch.

17 July 2018
Vicky Ellis
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I would like to register an official complaint about the 2nd phase consultation being undertaken by Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd for their NSIP pre-application stage. The public feedback deadline date is today.

In brief, the consultation has:
- provided misleading information
- used biased methods to gather feedback
- used non-relevant information in an attempt to influence the public
- left out some important pieces of information
- made assertions in publicity information that have not been included in the PEIR
- provided a non-technical PEIR summary which doesn't match the main PEIR
- provided a PEIR that is massive and unwieldy which can only be intimidating to the general public
- been organised poorly in terms of the time allowed
- disadvantaged local people in terms of physical access to the events
- disadvantaged some in the population who aren't IT literate
- has failed to use modern social communication channels appropriately
- has not provided sufficient signposting about the consultation on the site
- has relied on out-of-date data for mail distributions

Local people have been left confused, angry and in some case distraught by the actions of the developers and their contractors.

I contend that the consultation is of such poor quality that any application that relies on this will fail the Planning Inspectorate's Acceptance test in terms of the standards required.

If the information in this email isn't sufficient, please could you tell me how to do this more formally?
Please see the attached letter

13 July 2018
Chair of the local campaign group: Graveney Rural - Michael Wilcox
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see attached meeting note

30 April 2018
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd
Enquiry received via phone
response has attachments
PINS follow up advice - 30 April 2018 meeting
New case law

As discussed during the telecon earlier today - we are aware of a recent European Court of Justice judgment, which has implications for UK practice of considering mitigation at the screening stage of HRA in determining whether appropriate assessment is required.

The case is: C-323/17 - People Over Wind, Peter Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta (2018) (12/04/18).

You may wish to consider whether this judgement has any implications for your approach to the HRA for Cleve Hill, in discussion with Natural England. Section 51 advice in this regard has just been issued to the Applicant for the Kemsley K4 project, which you may find useful:

[attachment 1].

Regulation 32 transboundary screening

We briefly discussed the transboundary screening which is undertaken by the Planning Inspectorate during the pre-application stage, based on the information provided in the Scoping Report. The screening is undertaken in line with our duties under Regulation 32 of the EIA Regulations 2017, which require us to consider whether a proposed NSIP is likely to give rise to significant effects on the environment in another European Economic Area (EEA) State. Further information is provided in our Advice Note 12.

We note from the Scoping Report that the qualifying features of the Swale SPA and Ramsar site are likely to include migratory bird species, and therefore we need to consider the connectivity between these sites and European sites in other EEA States. We would therefore welcome clarification on the following points:

• Which qualifying features of the Swale SPA and Ramsar are migratory species?

• Are any of the qualifying features of the Swale SPA and Ramsar also features in connected European sites in other EEA States?

• It is understood that the final assessment conclusions have not yet been reached. However, can you please provide information to support the Inspectorate in making a decision regarding the potential for significant effects in other EEA States, taking into account the questions raised above?

If you are able to provide information in this regard, we may be able to rely on that for the purposes of transboundary screening, thus avoiding the need to inform other EEA States on a precautionary basis. Just to confirm, we would publish any such information you provide on our website.

Red line boundary extension below mean high water

We discussed today your intention to undertake consultation with the MMO, given the proposed extension of the red line boundary below mean high water. We would also suggest consulting the following bodies, if you haven’t already:

• Ministry of Defence (we usually identify this body if a proposed development enters the marine area);
• Any statutory dock, port or harbour authorities whose functions may be affected by the proposed development.

I hope that this is useful but if you have questions on any of the above, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

30 April 2018
Mike Bird
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see attached meeting note

26 March 2018
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project meeting with Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd
See attached meeting note

23 February 2018
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd - anon.
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Inception meeting
Please see the attached meeting

03 May 2017
Cleve Hill Solar Park - Mike Brid