Power plant approved despite impact on landscape

There’s already “an industrial cluster of buildings”… so we might as well build some more

Plans for a combined heat and power near Sittingbourne have been approved despite its visual impact on the Saxon Shore Way.
Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced in a letter that he would issue a development consent order for the Kemsley Mill K4 Combined Heat and Power Generating Station.
He concluded that its benefits would outweigh any potential negative visual impacts.
The order grants development consent for the construction and operation of a gas-fired combined heat and power generating station with a gross electricity-generating capacity of up to 73MW; it will be built within the boundary of Kemsley Paper Mill.
The letter said that a planning inspector had examined the application and concluded that “the potential adverse visual and landscape impacts of the proposed development when viewed from certain vantage points along the Saxon Shore Way… cannot be entirely mitigated”.
The applicant had apparently “assessed that while there would be no significant adverse visual or landscape impacts from individual locations in the vicinity of the development, a person walking along the Saxon Shore Way designated footpath would encounter a much greater degree of impact”.
The applicant “did not offer any mitigation as it felt that it would not be possible to achieve a meaningful reduction in impact”.
The letter added that Mr Clark had noted that a report from Swale Borough Council concluded that the development “would not add any adverse visual or landscape effects to the existing industrial cluster of buildings”.
“The [inspector] also notes that the design features of the development – including the colour scheme – would be subject to approval by Swale Borough Council and that the final agreed design might lead to mitigation of the impacts,” the letter continued, adding that Mr Clark agreed with the inspector that the visual and cumulative effects would not outweigh the benefits of the project.
Those benefits included “meeting national need for additional electricity generation capacity”.

Monday, July 15, 2019