We’re facing a climate emergency so we must embrace renewable energy. But we need to ensure the means of that energy are in the right place and on a suitable scale.
The proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park would develop a vast industrialised Solar Power Station on Graveney Marshes in North Kent. The scale of the project is so big that it required a six month national planning examination and government-level decision.
On the 28th May 2020 the Secretary of State approved the scheme, despite serious opposition from statutory bodies, wildlife and environmental organisations, and thousands of individuals.
Our campaign continues…
We believe that the area should be allowed to revert to salt marsh. This was the original Environment Agency plan for the area and would have many benefits for the natural environment:
- The Greater Thames Estuary is a major feeding hub for waterfowl and thus one of the most important places for wildlife on the planet.
- The proposed Solar Power Station would destroy the habitat of over 390 species of wildlife, including protected species such as the marsh harrier, lapwing, skylark and Brent geese.
- Graveney Marshes is the missing piece of the jigsaw in protected sites along the North Kent coast and could be part of a Nature Recovery Network in Kent – to expand and connect our best wildlife sites.
- The right use for Graveney Marshes is to help save the nation’s threatened wildlife.
- Salt marshes are the second most valuable ecosystem in the world so are vital natural climate solutions – they have huge benefits in terms of carbon capture (helping to reduce CO2), biodiversity and flood protection.
- The Environment Agency’s original plan (agreed with local stakeholders) was to allow the Graveney Marshes to revert to salt marsh within the next 20 years. The proposed Solar Power Station would mean that this would not be possible.
- Graveney Marshes is one of a small number of places that could be used to replace the internationally-important coastal wetlands (marshes) that are being lost due to the rise in sea-levels.
- The Environment Agency estimates that over 17,000 homes are at risk of flooding along the North Kent Coast, including in Faversham, Seasalter and Whitstable.
- The area has suffered from serious floods in the past – letting the sea back into the marshes could take the pressure off our coastal communities.