Policy ENV 10: Solar energy
Solar farms/parks (ground mounted solar energy developments)
Proposals for solar farms/parks should meet the requirements of LPS Policy SE 8 'Renewable and low carbon energy', alongside the following criteria:
- Proposals should be sited on previously developed land wherever possible, in line with LPS Policy SE 2 'Efficient use of land'. Development on previously developed land in close proximity to the electricity grid will be supported.
- Proposals should avoid the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land in line with Policy RUR 5 'Best and most versatile agricultural land'. Where proposals are sited on agricultural land, land around the structure should be maintained to be used for livestock grazing or other agricultural use, wherever possible.
- Individual and cumulative impacts of schemes will be considered in line with the landscape, ecological, amenity and operational factors set out in LPS Policy SE 8 'Renewable and low carbon energy'. This may also include the requirement of a glint and glare assessment, where necessary. Mitigation measures will be used to address any identified impacts, as and when appropriate.
- Associated development and buildings such as access roads, security perimeter fencing and CCTV, invertor cabinets, lighting and any buildings must be designed so as to minimise its visual impact, whilst ensuring that the development causes no risk to public safety.
- Proposals should not have a detrimental impact on air traffic safety or give rise to unacceptable harm to the natural or historic environment, heritage assets and their settings.
- Proposals should include a decommissioning statement, detailing the anticipated lifespan of the technology and how the removal of all structures and machinery will be delivered alongside the full restoration of the site.
Photovoltaics for domestic and non-domestic buildings
- Where solar thermal and photovoltaics on domestic and non-domestic buildings do not fall within permitted development, these, particularly roof based schemes, will be encouraged where they do not conflict with other local planning policies, particularly in relation to the impact upon heritage assets, conservation areas and the principles set out in LPS Policy SE 8 'Renewable and low carbon energy'. Schemes will also be encouraged to maximise solar gain through appropriate layout, design and orientation.
4.70 Applications for ground mounted solar energy developments must be supported by a landscape appraisal or, in the case of development requiring environmental impact assessment, a landscape and visual impact assessment. The scope of these should be agreed at the outset with the council. This should consider mitigation measures through layout, siting, design and screening. Wherever possible, hedgerows, trees, field patterns and strong boundary features should be used to mitigate the visual impact of solar energy developments. This should also consider any cumulative impacts.
4.71 The presence and operation of solar panels can present operational issues for aviation. In addition to their potential for presenting a physical obstacle to air navigation, solar panels can present a hazard to aircraft through glint or glare impacts and potential interference with aeronautical communication navigation systems (CNS) equipment. Developers are encouraged to undertake thorough pre-planning application discussions with airport operators at the earliest stage of project planning. Where consultations with the relevant operators identify that there may be impacts on air traffic safety then proposals will not be supported.
4.72 In line with LPS Policy SE 14 ‘Jodrell Bank’ and Policy HER 9 'Jodrell Bank World Heritage Site', development proposals within the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory Telescope Consultation Zone/World Heritage Site Buffer Zone that impair the efficiency of the telescope or have an adverse impact on the historic environment and visual landscape setting of the Jodrell Bank Observatory Radio Telescope will not be supported.
4.73 Planning conditions/legal obligations will be used to make sure that the ground mounted solar energy developments installations are removed when no longer in use and the land is restored to its previous use.
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