Elaine Shoobridge from Save Graveney Marshes updates us on the campaign to stop a solar power station on an important wildlife site in Kent ... Time is running out for us all to save an un-spoilt landscape in North East Kent from being completely destroyed. The proposed Cleve Hill Solar Power Station would see a vast industrialised power station built on Graveney Marshes, close to the ancient town of Faversham. The Marshes are an area of diverse wildlife and flora, a precious haven for over 300 species of wildlife including protected species such as the marsh harrier, lapwing, skylark, Brent geese and the European eel - classed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

 While campaigners recognise and support renewable energy, this scheme is far too big for the area and will devastate the marshes and their eco-diversity. It would mean the largest ever proposed industrial-scale Solar Power Station in the UK with a million solar panels, the height of a double-decker bus, turning the whole area into an industrial landscape two and half miles long – the same size as Faversham town. 

Salt marshes, such as at Graveney, are a vital part of natural climate solutions - they have huge benefits in terms of carbon capture (helping to reduce CO2), biodiversity and flood protection. This precious area could be the missing piece of the jigsaw in protected sites along the North Kent coast - 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 and provide open space for wellbeing.

It’s not too late to act! The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma MP is currently considering the National Planning Inspectorate’s recommendation. Mr. Sharma’s decision is due by the end of May 2020 – just weeks away. 

 Your voice, added to thousands of others will show the strength of feeling – please write to the Secretary of State, Alok Sharma (Secretary.State@beis.gov.uk) to voice your views.

For more information see the GREAT website www.savegraveneymarshes.org

GREAT is the umbrella group that encompasses the combined views of local, regional and national organisations that oppose the Cleve Hill Solar Park (CHSP) development for the Graveney Marshes near Faversham in Kent: the RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust, Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) - Kent branch, The Faversham Society.

Photo of Graveney Marshes: Andrew Hayes-Watkins