Cleve Hill Solar Park judicial review bid by Kent council fails

BBC News, 10 July 2020

Campaigners argued the solar farm would threaten wildlife, including marsh harriers

A council has been told it cannot challenge plans to build the UK’s largest solar farm on the north Kent coast.

The Cleve Hill Solar Park will consist of 800,000 panels built on 890 acres
(360 hectares) of farmland at Graveney.

Swale Borough Council was told there is no legal basis on which they can challenge the government’s decision to approve the plan.

The council had argued for a judicial review to protect wildlife habitats.

The consent for the development was granted to Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd by the government, on 28 May.

Local campaigners and politicians have opposed the solar farm at Graveney

Kent Wildlife Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have both opposed the scheme, arguing the development would threaten wildlife, including marsh harriers.

But the developers said the solar farm would have an area set aside for birds.

The council said the decision was “a great shock to local residents”.

Tim Valentine, cabinet member for environment, said: “Although the development will go ahead, there is still a lot that local people can do to influence the final proposals and reduce the negative impact as much as possible.

“I hope all interested parties will engage with the consultations on the final requirements and make the development the best it can be.”