SE3: Identify and promote sites for stand-alone renewable energy
Description and rationale for policy objective
This policy goes beyond PPS22, which suggested that local authorities should only use criteria based policies for assessing planning applications rather than designating specific sites. The implication is that local planning authorities should be looking to identify strategic opportunities for where “neighbourhood” scale renewable and low-carbon energy sources, such as wind turbines, energy from waste plant or gas fired combined heat and power plant could be co-located with areas of major existing and/or new development.
The idea is that these areas could be allocated or identified in some way in local development documents . You could either identify areas as “opportunity areas”, to which certain policies or SPD could apply. Or could be more specific and allocate a particular site for renewable energy, which could form part of a site allocations DPD or in the core strategy.
If areas are identified this does not mean that planning applications for other areas should be refused, but rather that applications within such strategic areas would be considered more sympathetically.
This is essentially a very similar approach to that currently being used by Unitary and County local authorities to identify potential sites, or areas of search, for locating energy from waste facilities, as part of preparing waste development planning documents.
Paragraph 20: “In particular, planning authorities should alongside any criteria-based policy developed in line with PPS22, consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low-carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure the development of such sources. but in doing so take care to avoid stifling innovation including by rejecting proposals solely because they are outside areas identified for energy generation;”
There are few examples of local authorities who have taken this approach to date, other than for energy from waste sites. However, there are examples at a regional level as part of regional spatial strategies. In Wales, the Assembly Government has identified areas of search for large scale wind farms as part of its Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 document. Click here to view.
Policy EP19 of Norwich’s Local Plan does provide an example of this. It encourages renewable energy developments, subject to their impact on neighbouring uses and wider visual amenity. It identifies the site of a former power station at Cremorne Lane as potentially suitable for a biomass power plant, utilising agricultural or forestry resources from the Yare valley and transporting them by water to the site. The Policy notes that a planning application for a development of this type on the site will require an environmental impact assessment. This would consider the:
- viability of transporting the raw materials to the plant by rail or river
- visual effects of the proposed development on the Broads National Park and the Thorpe Ridge and Thorpe St. Andrew Conservation Areas
- effects the development would have on air quality.
The Climate Change PPS Practice Guide gives some more information on this option under the Developing Policies and Proposals section.
The website gives some examples of the sorts of sites that could be identified, such as brownfield/ industrial sites for wind power. See at the bottom of the page here