A controversial plan to build the UK’s biggest solar farm on a sleepy patch of marshland near Faversham has been approved.
The massive ÂŁ450 million project has been granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, despite a determined resistance from local pressure groups.
Plans for the colossal project, which will stretch across 1,000 acres of the marshland have been in the works since November 2017.
However the scale and aesthetics of the development, typified by solar panels the size of ‘doubledecker buses’ have proved tough to swallow for people living nearby who have opposed it at every turn.
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The Save Graveney Marshes campaign group has continually opposed the size and nature of the development which they say will be harmful to wildlife in the area and scar the countryside.
Speaking in February, campaigner Tom King, 63 warned that the outcome of the dispute will set a precedent for future developments.
He said: â€śThere are a number of applications across the country on hold because theyâ€™re waiting to see how this pans out.
â€śWeâ€™re not against solar, if you have community level solar parks thatâ€™s acceptable. If it was a quarter of the size and not on peopleâ€™s door steps, then weâ€™d be fine.â€ť
A spokesman for Cleve Hill Solar Park said: “Cleve Hill Solar Park is delighted to announce the decision from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma to grant consent for the UK’s largest solar scheme, which is a joint venture project between Hive Energy Ltd and Wirsol Energy Ltd.
“We are proud to lead the way to deliver the UK’s largest solar park. Cleve Hill Solar Park offers a real solution to urgent climate needs and showcases the potential for the UK to lead the green recovery.
“This is a project that will generate up to 350MW of clean, renewable electricity to power over 91,000 homes, reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels and lower CO2 emissions by 68,000 tonnes a year. “