UK’s Biggest Solar Farm Poses Grave Risk To Public Health

By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby



Britain’s largest solar farm is currently wending its way through the planning system.

Not only will it be the biggest at 350MW and 890 acres, but crucially it will include battery storage of 700 MWh. And it is the prospect of this that is frightening local residents, as this open letter from the local doctor explains:

Newton Place Surgery on the Health Issues arising from Cleve Hill

Open letter to The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Society, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H OET A signed paper copy has been sent

Proposal to build a 350MW Solar Power Station with 700MWh Battery Energy Storage System at Cleve Hill, Graveney, Kent

Dear Secretary of State

I am the Senior Partner in the largest GP practice in Faversham, Kent . We serve a population of 18,500 patients, and a large part of the population of the village of Graveney is on our list. I am writing on behalf of the practice to urge you to decide against the above proposal on the grounds of the dangers to health, and indeed life, associated with the proposed Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

When I first joined the practice, 29 years ago, one of my patients was a veteran of the first world war, who was still suffering the effects of chlorine gas: I think this proposal needs to be considered as having the potential to inflict a gas attack even worse than that which he experienced.

You will be aware from the report of the NSIP Examination that the proposed Lithium-ion BESS will be the largest in the world by a factor of five. Moreover, the installation will be within one mile of the village of Graveney and its primary school, and less than two miles from the historic market town of Faversham with its population of 19,000.

Lithium-ion Batteries

It is well established that Li-ion batteries are prone to runaway fires which can lead to explosions. Indeed, such fires at much smaller installations in the USA has led regulators to question the use of such batteries and pause further developments, especially close to habitation. The larger the BESS, the greater is the risk of a runaway fire. In the event of a fire Li-ion batteries emit a cloud of highly toxic Hydrogen Fluoride which can spread at dangerously high levels over distances of 1-2 miles, enveloping the town of Faversham and nearby coastal communities. These effects were modelled in detail in evidence to the Cleve Hill Examination.

Toxicity of Hydrogen Fluoride

Hydrogen fluoride goes easily and quickly through the skin and into the tissues in the body. There it damages the cells and causes them to not work properly. The gas, even at low levels, can irritate the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. Breathing in hydrogen fluoride at high levels can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid build-up in the lungs. At lower levels breathing hydrogen fluoride can damage lung tissue and cause swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary oedema). Eye exposure to hydrogen fluoride may cause prolonged or permanent visual defects, blindness, or total destruction of the eye. People who do survive after being severely injured by breathing in hydrogen fluoride may suffer lingering chronic lung disease.

I am extremely concerned that the potential hazards associated with such a large BESS pose an unacceptable risk of death or long term illness to the population which is served by Newton Place Medical Practice.

I, therefore, urge you to decide against this proposal.

Yours Sincerely, Dr Alastair Gould
Senior Partner
Newton Place Surgery

A copy of this letter was passed to Philip Bratby by the Chairman of CPRE Kent (Campaign to Protect Rural England), who are taking the threat seriously.

I cannot comment on the technical aspects, but I very much doubt any other industrial project would be allowed to get away with this sort of endangerment of public health.


March 20, 2020 at 12:21PM

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