To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposed construction of a solar farm near Faversham by Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd, in particular the impact of that development on the (1) local environment, in particular Graveney Marshes, (2) wildlife, and (3) availability of farmland; and what consideration they have given to the representations by local residents made to the Planning Inspectorate about such a development, in particular the 98 per cent of such representations which objected to the development.
The Cleve Hill Solar Park proposal is the subject of an application for development consent under the Planning Act 2008. The application is currently being examined by The Planning Inspectorate with members of the public and other interested parties able to take part in the Examination. The Planning Inspectorate has published an Examination Timetable on its web-site. The Examination will consider a range of issues including biodiversity and nature conservation.
The Examination will last for up to six months with completion scheduled for 29 November 2019. The Planning Inspectorate then has three months to produce its report and recommendations for my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who has up to three months to consider them, and all relevant matters that are drawn to his attention, before determining whether consent should be granted or refused.
The Secretary of State’s role in the decision-making process is quasi-judicial, so it is not appropriate for him or his Ministers to comment on the merits or otherwise of the solar park proposal at this stage.