Cleve Hill Solar Park
Enquiry from Stephen Ledger by email on 08 December 2018:
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:
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:
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: