RES has submitted a planning application to Sevenoaks District Council for a solar farm on land between Horton Kirby and Fawkham. The name “Chimmens” comes from a common name associated with one of the fields within the site.

Our goal is to develop a solar project that will:

  • Fight climate change (which is a long-term threat to the countryside)
  • Improve energy security
  • Provide local economic benefits
  • Integrate into the local landscape
  • Enhance local biodiversity

If consented, it is anticipated that the solar farm will be capable of generating up to 49.9 MW of clean, low cost renewable electricity. This is enough to power approximately 19,1941 homes, saving up to 32,0002 tonnes a year of CO2 compared to electricity from fossil fuels like gas.

Community engagment and consultation

RES believes in meaningful and effective consultation and we aim to engage early with the local community and key stakeholders in order to facilitate constructive consultation. This helps to identify issues and concerns, as well as benefits and opportunities, which we can then consider when developing the design of the proposal.

In July 2023 we consulted key stakeholders and the public on our initial design for our proposed Chimmens Solar Farm. This included a meeting with parish councils on 28th June 2023 and a public exhibition on 10th July 2023 at Fawkham Parish Hall, enabling people to learn more about the project, discuss the proposal with our project team, provide us with feedback on the preliminary design.

You can read more about our consultation activities in our Statement of Community Involvement found here.

Site location

The plan to the right shows the location of Chimmens Solar Farm.

The site infrastructure is expected to include:

  • Solar panels mounted on a frame with ground clearance (to allow sheep grazing) and maximum height up to 3.6m;
  • A network of internal access tracks;
  • Access from local public highway;
  • A substation/transformer with security fencing and grid connection;
  • Inverters on hardstanding and battery storage containers;
  • Temporary construction compounds; and
  • Deer fencing within and on the perimeter of the solar farm.

Click for larger version

Land use and agriculture

No agricultural land will be lost because of the development. Agricultural use of the land will be retained throughout the project lifecycle in the form of sheep grazing. Due to the low intrusive nature of solar panels, a typical solar farm uses around just 5% of the total site area with the rest of the land remaining undisturbed, creating significant opportunities to provide a range of ecological benefits.

The temporary change of land use during the solar project allows the regeneration of soil quality, improvements in soil organic matter and ensures the availability of high-quality agricultural land for the future.

An Agricultural Land Classification survey has been undertaken and, along with the Agricultural Impact Assessment has been submitted as part of the planning application.

Green belt

The 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) has been used alongside topographical surveys results to inform the design.

There will not be a long-term loss of greenfield or greenbelt land as the development 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. Chimmens Solar Farm aligns with these policies and the benefits of the renewable energy generated by the project would be realised locally and nationally.

More information can be found in the Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVA) which has been submitted as part of the planning application.

Cultural heritage

Whilst there are no designated heritage assets within the Chimmens Solar Farm, there are a number of assets within 500m of the project,
particularly to the west and north west including listed buildings (Mussenden Farm and Eglantine Farm), registered parks and gardens
(Franks Hall) and scheduled monuments (Roman Granary).

Our consultation with the Kent County Archaeologist is ongoing, including archaeology trial trenching which commenced in November 2023. This will help us understand the potential unknown archaeology. A Heritage Statement has been submitted as part of the planning application and can be found here.


Chimmens Solar Farm will deliver significant habitat improvements. The design has been informed by ecology surveys and consultation with Kent County Ecologist. An Ecological Appraisal report, including Biodiversity Net Gain has been submitted as part of the planning application and can be found here.

Potential Delivery Route

Access is an important consideration when selecting a potential solar farm site. We have undertaken traffic surveys, a topographic survey and consultated with Kent Highways to inform the project design.

The access strategy includes a delivery route for construction materials via A20 > Scratchers Lane > Three Gates Road.

This route avoids the villages of Horton Kirby and Fawkham Green and therefore avoids potential disruption during construction.

More information can be found in the Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) which can be found here.

Landscape and Ecological Management Plan

An extensive landscaping plan accompanies the planning application and proposes landscaping and planting measures including:
  • New native woodland to provide additional visual enclosure of the proposals along the northern boundary of the site;
  • Existing hedgerow infilled wherever necessary with proposed native hedgerow species to ensure dense coverage and further define field boundaries and provide additional visual enclosure;
  • Extensive planting of new native hedgerows (more than 4,000m) across the site to define field boundaries where none are present, or have been lost over time;
  • Species rich grassland throughout the site will be managed through low intensity grazing by sheep; and
  • Creation of approximately 35 acres of Skylark habitat will offer significantly improved foraging opportunities for skylark nesting adjacent to the solar farm, as the grassland habitats will support a larger biomass of insect prey items than the intensively cultivated arable land.

Chimmens Solar Farm, if consented, will 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.

The LEMP is contained in the LVA Appendix 7 which can be found on the planning application page.

Public Rights of Way

RES understands the importance of the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) to the local community.

There are two PRoW footpaths in the local area (SD155 and SD333). SD155 is located to the west and the south of the project where it is enclosed by thick vegetation on either side.

SD333 crosses within the south side of the site boundary. During construction, there is likely to be a temporary diversion of SD333 within Horton Wood. However, during operation, the design of Chimmens Solar Farm has retained all existing PRoW routes and includes 11.5m space along the route of footpath SD333 as it crosses within the development. Furthermore, educational boards are proposed along the route of SD333 for the benefit of PRoW users.

For more information, please see the Construction Traffic Management Plan which includes Plate 2.1 – Public Right of Way Map, shown to the right.


Click image above to view on page 5 of
Construction Traffic Management Plan

Why solar?

  • Renewable energy at lowest cost to the consumer3
  • Tackling climate change by supporting the UK’s target of net zero by 2050
  • Specifically designed to be dual purpose, combining continued agricultural use and renewable generation
  • Quick to deploy
  • Modern, efficient technology allowing more electricity generation in less space
  • Diversification of agricultural business
  • Significant biodiversity enhancement opportunities by supporting new and existing plant and animal habitats
  • High level of public support4


1 RES has changed the formula for the homes powered and therefore the homes figure is now calculated by taking the predicted annual electricity generation of the site (using an average capacity factor of 11.2%) and dividing this by the annual average electricity figures from DESNZ (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, formerly BEIS) showing that the annual GB average domestic household consumption is 3,239 kWh (January 24). Note, the change in formula has led to a difference in homes powered to that previously publicised.

2 RES now uses DESNZ’s “all non-renewable fuels” emissions statistic of 424 tonnes of carbon dioxide per GWh of electricity supplied in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (July 2023) Table 5.14 (“Estimated carbon dioxide emissions from electricity supplied”) to calculate carbon reduction. Carbon reduction is calculated by multiplying the total amount of electricity generated by the solar farm per year by the number of tonnes of carbon which fossil fuels would have produced to generate the same amount of electricity. Note, the change in source has led to a difference in carbon offset to that previously publicised.