Raspberry Solar Farm plans submitted to Swale Borough Council


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Plans for a 133-hectare, £40m solar farm that would produce enough electricity to power 23,670 UK homes have been submitted to Swale Borough Council.

The site is 133 hectares, of which 88 hectares would be used for solar power, with the rest of the site dedicated to wildlife enhancement areas or public space/wildflower meadows.

The plans were presented by JBM solar, with Raspberry solar park be located on tier 3b, ‘moderate quality’ farmland which will continue to be used for pastoral farming, to the north-west of Sittingbourne.

Due to the type of development, the site would be preserved as a pristine site before, during and after decommissioning, if approved, and would provide £7.6 million in local commercial rates to Swale Borough Council for improve public services.

It would be located south of Raspberry Hill Lane and cover land between Lower Halstow and Iwade, and would save over 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 compared to traditional fossil fuel generation methods.

JBM Solar was established in 2012 and has already secured consent for over 1GW of renewable solar projects in the UK and Ireland, and focuses on community engagement and delivering substantial wildlife enhancements local to each site.

The latest proposal will also bring a range of local and national benefits.

For example, the poorly maintained paths that cross the site, including the Saxon Way, will be improved and widened up to 10 meters in width, and provided with educational signs detailing local wildlife, including the strident carder bee, and l local history of the region.

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The company also proposes to encourage visits to the site by installing picnic benches and an outdoor classroom/work space, in addition to a community orchard for use by local schools and community groups.

And he promises to plant more than 40 acres of new wildflower meadows with butterfly and bee habitats, native hedgerows and trees. Thanks to a panoply of ecological improvements, the site will result in a gain in local biodiversity of more than 150% (15 times the standard).

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Existing hedges and trees are to be preserved with an additional 7km of hedges planted or improved to help obscure views from solar panels.

As a bonus, the company offers to provide grants for local community projects and free solar installations on the roof of any school, community building or church in the area.

The solar park will be designed to last 40 years, then it will be dismantled and the site will return to its previous state.

The company says construction will cost £40million and take six months, creating 70 construction jobs.

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The program received tremendous community support, with more than 85% of respondents leaving supportive comments throughout the consultation process, according to the community engagement statement, submitted as part of the application.

Further details of the application can be viewed on the The Raspberry Solar Park website here or through the Swale Borough Council planning portal.

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