The Planning Application

Sevenoaks District Council has validated our planning application for the 49.9MW Chimmens Solar Farm, proposed on land between Horton Kirbyand Fawkham.

Electronic copies of the planning application and accompanying documents can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the links below.

The planning application is also available on the Sevenoaks District Council website at: pa.sevenoaks.gov.uk/online-applications/. The planning reference is 23/03181/FUL. 

A statutory consultation period will be advertised and held by Sevenoaks District Council to enable the public, as well as statutory consultees, to submit their comments on the proposal, now that the planning application has been submitted. The closing date for comments is 18th January 2024 which takes into account the bank holidays over the Christmas period. These comments will be assessed against the proposal and a determination made in due course.

Planning Reports:

 

Technical Reports

Figures:

 

Hard copies of some planning documents are available on request. Please contact us for more information.

Reasons to Support the Chimmens Solar Farm Proposal

Reasons to Support the Chimmens Solar Farm Proposal 

There is now widespread recognition that the UK, and the rest of the world, is in a climate emergency. Renewable energy has a significant part to play in meeting the UK’s targets of eliminating fossil fuels from the UK electricity market by 2035 and achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. Reports have shown that in order to achieve net zero by 2050 the UK will need to quadruple its low carbon electricity generation. Solar energy has an important part to play in helping reach these targets, as well as providing a balanced energy mix, and it is estimated that 40GW1 of solar will be needed by 2030 to stay on track with net zero ambitions, with 63%2 (or 25GW) of this coming from large scale ground mounted solar farms. 

The UK Government’s Energy Security Plan, published in March 2023, states “Energy security necessarily entails the smooth transition to abundant, low-carbon energy. If we do not decarbonise, we will be less energy secure” Furthermore, it calls for energy to be “cheap, clean and British”. The government has also established a solar government-industry taskforce and have committed to publishing a solar roadmap setting out a clear step by step deployment trajectory to achieve 70GW of solar by 2035. The report recognises that ground-mounted solar is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation and is readily deployable at scale. 

Our current power system still relies heavily on fossil fuels, such as gas. The volatile price of these is the reason that bills have increased so rapidly in recent months. The need to rapidly scale up home grown energy has become even more urgent.   

Solar is a free and inexhaustible resource which has an important role to play as part of a balanced energy mix. Large scale solar, alongside other renewable technologies, is now the cheapest source of electricity generation3 making solar development not only beneficial for the environment but also for bill payers. If consented, Chimmens Solar Farm would be capable of producing clean, green electricity for approximately 22,5004 homes every year. 

Chimmens Solar Farm, if consented, could deliver new landscape and ecological measures and an overall Biodiversity Net Gain of 45% net gain in area habitats and 39% net gain in hedgerow habitats.   All of these new habitats will provide significant improvements for all species in the local area.

Chimmens Solar Farm has been designed to integrate into the surrounding area as appropriately as possible and the results of a Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVA) were used alongside topographical surveys results to inform this design. Due to the temporary nature of the project, there will not be a long-term loss of greenbelt and the land can be returned to agricultural practices at the end of the solar project. There are strong local and national policies demonstrating the need for renewable energy projects in order to tackle climate change and meet the government’s targets for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Chimmens Solar Farm proposal aligns with these policies and the benefits of the renewable energy generated by the project would be realised locally and nationally.  

The solar farm could deliver direct benefit to the area  - generating jobs during construction and decommissioning.  Inward investment can be significant as a range of services will be required including haulage, on-site welfare facilities, refuse and recycling facilities, transport and local accommodation for construction workers.  Furthermore, if consented, Chimmens Solar Farm would pay business rates annually, directly to Sevenoaks District Council, for the life of the project, helping to fund vital services for all local residents. 

If, having read the above, you would like to support the Chimmens Solar Farm proposal, you can do so by submitting a representation online via the Sevenoaks District Council’s website.  The planning reference is 23/03181/FUL and should be included in all correspondence. 

A statutory consultation period will be advertised and held by Sevenoaks District Council to enable the public, as well as statutory consultees, to submit their comments on the proposal.  The closing date for comments is 18th January 2024 which takes into account the bank holidays over the Christmas period.  These comments will then be assessed against the proposal and a determination made in due course. 

 

 

 

1 https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CCC-Accelerated-Electrification-Vivid-Economics-Imperial-1.pdf 

2 https://solarenergyuk.org/resource/lighting-the-way-making-net-zero-a-reality-with-solar-energy/ 

3 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6556027d046ed400148b99fe/electricity-generation-costs-2023.pdf 

4 The homes figure has been calculated by taking the predicted average annual electricity generation of the site and dividing this by the annual average electricity figures from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) showing that the annual UK average domestic household consumption is 3,509 kWh (Dec 2022).