Campaign launched to save Ash Levels from solar farm development


Campaigners are fighting to save habitat at Ash Level from a proposed wind farm equivalent to the size of 128 football pitches.

The area earmarked for solar panels on the land near Sandwich, Kent, originally amounted to more than 72 ha, but this has swollen to 84 ha in a planning application submitted to Dover District Council.

Barn Owl is one of the species that campaigners say the solar farm could impact at Ash Level (Nick Appleton).

It is argued that the development at Goshall Valley in East Street will threaten wildlife conservation and food security, as well as depriving residents of the only green space between Ash and Sandwich and potentially impacting local business.

Writing to the council, Valerie Jordan, a local resident, said: "The magnitude of the site will turn the only remaining green countryside space between Ash and Sandwich into an industrial eyesore, damaging local tourism and businesses."

The site would run for 40 years if it goes ahead. Little South Clean Energy Limited, the applicant, said the site will reduce CO2 emissions and "not unacceptably" impact the natural environment.

The Save Ash Level campaign says the area is home to Barn Owls, Eurasian Beavers, Water Voles and serves as a stop-off for many migratory birds. Construction would involve 70 lorries visiting per week.

The campaign says there will be no direct local benefits and further costs include the visual impact on local heritage sites, including a Roman fort and negative effects for outdoor recreation in the area.

Save Ash Level has set up a website to encourage individuals to object to the planning application.