The decision on Cleve Hill Solar Park Limited’s proposals, to build a solar power station the size of Faversham on the nearby Graveney marshes, is due from the Secretary of State by the end of May 2020.
Campaign group Graveney Rural Environment Action Team (GREAT) are hoping the proposal will be refused but have already started planning for a Judicial Review in the event of it being approved.
Outline plans for the next phase of campaigning were shared at a public meeting on 13 February at The Guildhall in Faversham attended by local MPs, national organisations the RSPB, CPRE (Campaign for Rural England), Kent Wildlife Trust and myriad supporters.
Helen Whately, Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, and now Minister of State in the Department for Health and Social Care
“The Graveney Rural Environment Action Team (GREAT) has been doing fantastic work in leading the campaign to save Graveney Marshes” says Helen Whately. “This next stage of the campaign is going to be vital. I’ve been working hard along with many hundreds of people to get this development rejected, and that remains the focus of my work on this. But we need to prepare for any outcome, and we need your help. This meeting is really important for planning the next steps of the campaign and getting a strong team in place to lead this work.”
Tim Valentine – Swale Green Party
“We face a climate and ecological emergency; we cannot address one at the expense of the other“ says Tim Valentine for the Swale Green Party. “If the Secretary of State authorises an industrial solar power station on Graveney marshes, we will lose one of the few wild places in Kent. It will be essential to challenge that decision. To achieve an effective challenge we need to organise now. Swale Green Party support GREAT’s planning for a judicial review.”
Sir David Melville CBE, Vice-Chair of The Faversham Society
“This proposal to build the second largest solar power station in Europe on Faversham’s doorstep is completely out of scale and poses an unacceptable risk to wildlife, the environment and great danger to the local population” says Sir David Melville CBE, Vice-Chair of The Faversham Society. “Besides almost one million solar panels the development includes a giant Lithium-ion battery which is five times bigger than the current largest in the world. Such batteries elsewhere have regularly caused spontaneous fires and huge explosions, emitting fatally toxic gases for miles around. This is an unacceptable threat to the nearby Graveney primary school as well as to the inhabitants of Faversham and neighbouring towns and villages.”