Cleve Marsh

Antony Hook to raise Cleve Hill Solar Farm with the EU Commission

   17 July 2019

Antony Hook, Lib Dem MEP for South East England, is to raise the issue of the Cleve Hill Solar Farm with the EU Commission this week.

The proposed solar battery power station will consist of over 900,000 densely-packed solar panels, some of which will stand over 4m tall, making the plant one of the largest industrial-scale operations in Europe.

Antony believes pressure from the EU may encourage the British government to reconsider the project.

Antony said: “I am deeply concerned by the scale and placement of this project.

“We have a climate emergency, and we must move away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable clean energy. However, there has never been a project like this anywhere in Europe and the potential environmental impact and damage to biodiversity will be significant. The area may never recover.

“As MEP I can do more to raise local issues and demand action than I am able to do as a local councillor.”

“I will be asking the Commission for their views and I hope they share the concerns of the many hard-working campaign groups in Faversham. Solar power is vital for the planet, but we should be using roof tops and road verges instead of bulldozing our precious countryside.”

This week the Cleve Hill Solar Farm project moved into its six-month official examination phase being carried out by the government’s Planning Inspectorate. The project is a joint venture formed by two solar industry specialists Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy Ltd. Construction will take place on land surrounded by nature reserves and areas of environmental importance.

Kent Wildlife Trust has launched an active campaign to prevent the foreseen wildlife catastrophe.

Antony’s Rule 138 question in full

The impact on biodiversity of Cleve Hill Solar Park

Cleve Hill Solar Park, which is proposed for Graveney on the north coast of Kent, will occupy 1,000 acres of countryside if built. That’s the size of 700 football pitches.

While very few would question a reduction in carbon emissions and the majority support greater use of renewable energy, Cleve Hill solar farm has met with huge opposition due to the potential destruction of landscape, erosion of farmland and inevitable damage to wildlife.

Faversham Town Council has expressed significant concerns to the UK Planning Inspectorate which is scheduled to finish its investigation by the end of November, and we await its report with interest.

What view does the Commission take of the impact on biodiversity of large solar farms at this industrial scale?

Has or will the Commission take a view on the Cleve Hill proposal?

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