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Don't Delay: sign the petition and write today to the Secretary of State

Don't Delay: sign the petition and write today to the Secretary of State – we know that Cleve Hill is now being actively considered by staff in the Ministry

There are many reasons to object to the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Power station – the short paragraphs below are for you to pick and choose and adapt to make your case to the Secretary of State.

Please sign our petition to say NO to a massive, dangerous, dirty Solar Power Plant with the world's largest batteries close to homes  http://chng.it/r2S9PKTxZN 

Please encourage friends and relatives to sign too; this project will set a national precedent.

Ensure that it is clear that you are objecting: if you are emailing put objection or objecting in the subject line. If you are writing, head your letter OBJECTION.

Please email the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, Secretary.State@beis.gov.uk and copy Helen.Whately.mp@parliament.uk, who is supporting our campaign and CH@FavershamSociety.org

The postal address is:  The Rt Hon Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

I am objecting to the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Power Station for the following reasons:

  • I have seen the letter sent to you by Dr Alastair Gould, Senior Partner at Newton Place Surgery on behalf of the whole practice.  I share his concerns about the fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries and the toxicity of hydrogen fluoride.  The proposed batteries are untried and untested at this scale, and I note that Arizona, where there have been serious fires, has stopped the use of this technology.  I urge you to think very carefully about your responsibility for approving a development based on emerging, untested and potentially very hazardous technology.  This is dirty solar, and the proposal should be rejected.

  • The sheer scale of the development with nearly one million panels the height of a London double-decker bus, 200,000 steel piles over an area the size of Faversham will industrialise a natural landscape of considerable value for recreation, tourism, and wildlife.

  • The site sustains thousands of migrating birds and is recognised as providing essential feeding and nesting ground for many threatened species, including Brent geese, reed-buntings, nesting skylarks, and marsh harriers. It is recognised by RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust as providing important connectivity and habitat between the sites already protected.

  • I am concerned about the impact of the increased traffic thundering past the local primary school for two years, causing pollution and disturbance in addition to the road accident risk.  There will be up to 80 heavy goods vehicles per day thundering past Graveney School within metres of the school playground.  That is one lorry every 6 minutes during construction, and there will be many traffic movements associated with site maintenance when construction is finished.

I strongly support alternative energy and cannot understand why so many new houses are being built around Faversham with no renewable energy.  I strongly support renewable energy as essential to reducing carbon emissions.  I cannot understand why the government permits the building of new houses without solar, wind or heat pumps.  This would be a much better way of providing low carbon energy and making housing more affordable.  Why is the government not requiring more energy-efficient homes since retrofitting is much more difficult and expensive?  Why did the government withdraw the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2015?[1]

[1] The Faversham Society is a strong supporter of renewable forms of energy generation.  When the Cleve Hill proposal first emerged, many of us were conflicted.  As the details emerged, we became more and more sceptical.  We are now opposed to the development as "dirty solar."

There is no inconsistency in supporting solar and objecting to the Cleve Hill development.

The Faversham Society regrets that the thousands of new houses being built around Faversham and across Swale are not required to be eco-friendly and sustainable.  We also support the development of small solar parks which continue to be built in our area.  These are mostly unobtrusive and meet the National Grid's expressed preference for decentralised, local renewable supply systems.

The government withdrew its Code for Sustainable Homes in 2015.

Para 151 of the current National Planning Policy Framework refers (151 c) to identifying “opportunities for development to draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply systems and for co-locating potential heat customers and suppliers."

Unfortunately, para 153 enables developers easily to escape this obligation: “In determining planning applications, local planning authorities should expect new developments to:

(a)           comply with any development plan policies on local requirements for decentralised energy supply unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant, having regard to the type of development involved and its design, that this is not feasible or viable.”

April 8, 2020

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