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Britain's Largest Greenhouse

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I've been keeping an eye on this project for some time. It'll be interesting to see how it's first two years of full production go and how the 'blurb' fares in reality.






"The business will eventually add an extra 15 per cent to British salad vegetable production," said a representative. "All of it will be sold in Kent, in supermarkets and independent stores."


Growers have planted in two of the three greenhouses. The first, owned by Dutch cooperative Rainbow Growers, is for peppers. The second, owned by Kaaij Redstar, is for tomatoes. Picking is due to start in March, and the third greenhouse, owned by A&A Growers, will be planted with cucumbers at the end of this month.


Eight-week-old plants raised exclusively for the project arrived before Christmas and were individually transplanted. It took four days to plant 18ha, an area equivalent to 25 football pitches.


The tomato glasshouse, the largest in the UK at almost 10ha, will produce eight varieties of speciality vine tomatoes all year round. The 9ha pepper glasshouse will provide the crop for nine months.


The greenhouses are heated using combined heat-and-power units. By-products of power generation - heat and carbon dioxide - support the plants.


The sustainability of Thanet Earth was assessed by Bidwells Agribusiness. A Thanet Earth representative said that the project's peppers and cucumbers had a lower carbon footprint than those grown elsewhere.


Tomatoes grown without lights were more carbon-efficient than those in the Mediterranean, and the lights had a similar carbon footprint to UK-grown tomatoes grown without lights or CHP.









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The project Thanet Earth tended to seperate the local residents into two camps.


The 'haves' who had a 'not next to my village' attitude and who feared it would be another plastic landscape and that it generally sought only unskilled cheap labour locally ................. and the 'have nots' who couldn't afford snobbery. To quote one piece of commentry I heard whilst trying to find out more about this project ..............


The site is actually closer to Monkton than St Nicholas. Heading North from the Monkton roundabout on the A299, it’s the land to the right, over to the small lane that goes over the fields to Brooksend. You can look at the overall site plan and location here;




(that’s the A299 Monkton roundabout at the bottom)


It is also proper glasshouses, not plastic tunnels – this is greenhouse 6;




and an aerial view;




As regards jobs, it’s hard to know. Businesses of this type do typically use a lot of agency labour, but Thanet does have a large unskilled workforce (nearly 60% of the working-age population have no qualifications at all), and relatively high unemployment (effectively around 10%, heavily concentrated in unskilled workers).


It’s to be hoped it can employ a good number of these people, albeit it is not likely to be highly paid. But neither is flipping burgers

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