Solar developers RES have revised their planning application for a giant 50MW PV park in Kent, in response to demands from its neighbours.

The firm began consultations with residents in June over its Chimmens proposal, sited on Green Belt land near Sevenoaks.

Counter proposals from locals have led to the developer promising now new native woodland planted on the site’s northern edge, and re-locating inverter sheds for screening by existing mature hedgerows.

Additional view screening from residential properties is planned for the site.  RES says no agricultural land will be lost, since sheep will be free to graze under the panel’s racks.  Flora and fauna will benefit from a net 45% biodiversity gain, and thirty five acres of the site will be set aside for birds.

Public consultations on the revised designs close on 18 January.  Sevenoaks planners will then reach a decision.

RES development manager Pauric McCloskey said: “We’re pleased to have worked with the local community to listen to their feedback.

“Building new solar farms like Chimmens is absolutely essential to helping tackle climate change, but more than that, we need more projects like this because they generate cheap electricity, create a more secure supply of energy for Britian and support skilled jobs in the green economy.”

Chimmens is dwarfed by another solar project in Kent, Cleve Hill near Faversham.   Backed by two co-development companies, the 350MW, £450 million project was consented in May 2020, and construction began this year.

The national Planning Inspectorate’s decision is expected this July on Britain’s biggest solar farm sought so far. The 500MW Gate Burton solar energy park is earmarked for land near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. The Inspectorate’s consultation with the public on Gate Burton closes on 18 January.


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