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HomeNewsMassive Solar Farm Near Ashford Takes A Step Closer

Massive Solar Farm Near Ashford Takes A Step Closer

A planned solar farm that is ten times bigger than a neighbouring village has taken a major step forward as Evolution Power’s plans near around Aldington, near Ashford, passed the first round of scrutiny this week.

The proposal sees a new solar farm spanning the size equviliant to 250 football pitches.
Evolution revealed its bid to the Planning Inspectorate (PI) on on Tuesday 9th July 2024. The PI, who are the body responsible for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), accepted for examination. As Evolution’s project would generate more than 50 megawatts it is categorised as an NSIP, essentially a major infrastructure scheme. It means only the government or, more specifically the Planning Inspectorate, has the power to greenlight the project following a raft of investigations and reports – bypassing local planning rules.

If plans progress, the 400-acre Stonestreet Green solar farm’s photovoltaic panels will power 48,000 homes a year with 99.9 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy.

It comes as numerous energy firms vie to strike up deals with landowners and councils for new solar farms across Kent as the UK strives to meet the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Campaigners against the scheme have labelled it as “hideous” and believe house prices will be driven down, triggering an exodus of residents. Although with the current housing crisis, there is sire to be plenty more people waiting to move in.

Aldington and Mersham Support Group founder Derek Burles has urged residents to join forces to battle the plans.

He said “We need to look back to the village meeting in November 2022, when those present voted unanimously to oppose this hideous scheme on the grounds of its location, scale and cumulative effect”.

“Now the planning inspector has approved the developer’s application, the community needs to act as one, led by the parish council and the Aldington and Mersham Support Group, to ensure that the shortcomings highlighted by the adequacy of consultation submission are exposed to maximum effect during the examination period.”

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