I want to lead from the front to make Greenhill a more sustainable community, helping residents enjoy a better environment, less pollution and improved health. As such, I'm delighted to report back on my first two years as Councillor on the good progress we have made, positioning Herne Bay at the forefront of the green economy.
New Solar Power Farm
The energy company Vattenfall has made a planning application for a new 20MW solar array on a plot of farming land near the New Thanet Way. These solar panels will generate enough energy to power 5,000 homes and help encourage other industries to locate in our town, attracted by a carbon-free and low-cost energy source. These new jobs and progress to our net-zero carbon target are very welcome.
**update: planning has been granted!**
Since then, I have been working on a community energy project which will deliver a large number of solar panels on the roofs of our two local schools - Herne Bay High and Briary Primary - as well as on the Greenhill Senior Citizens Club. Additionally we will install educational energy display boards at the sites and in doing so help inspire local residents and businesses to take their own actions to reduce their carbon footprint.
Green Hydrogen Plant
In June 2020 the Council gave planning permission for the construction of the first green hydrogen plant in the UK, which will use 100% renewable energy from the local wind farm to create hydrogen fuel to power buses and heat our homes.
By using this emission-free fuel, we will improve our local air quality and reduce carbon emissions. This puts Herne Bay at the forefront of the country's efforts to tackle climate change and will bring our community many environmental and economic benefits.
The Greenest Lidl in Britain
A year ago, I supported the approval of the new Lidl supermarket store on Greenhill roundabout. It is now under construction, with an expected opening date in autumn 2020. The store will have a green roof and many other features making it their most environmentally-friendly store in the country.
Our First Cycle Route
As part of the new Thornden Wood Village housing development, which went to planning committee in June 2020, I have been able to secure the creation of a cycle route running north-south through our ward, up to Herne Bay train station and town centre.
This will help reduce the number of extra car journeys which the new housing brings, as well help existing residents do more short journeys on bike, with all of the associated health and environmental benefits.