A surge in planning applications for solar farms in North Lincolnshire has prompted the council to issue a supplementary planning document (SPD), outlining the adoption of new requirements.
The document, first published in October but adopted by North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) last month, establishes a number of new planning requirements which extend upon national policy after the council highlighted renewables deployment as a “key issue” for local communities.
The council noted that North Lincolnshire had been the subject of an increasing number of renewable energy project applications, many of which concerning ground-mounted solar farms.
“These have placed pressure on the area’s landscape, environment and communities,” the document states.
The SPD expands on local planning documents and seeks to enforce that solar farms are only approved if planned on lowest quality agricultural land that has minimal impact on visual amenity in the area.
Its aim is to concentrate further solar development on previously developed or industrial land, as well as domestic and commercial rooftops.
Consultation with local communities prior to submitting a planning application is to now be considered all but compulsory, with a failure to do so likely to be a “material consideration” on any application.
Developers are also urged to collaborate with local communities to put into place concrete benefit programmes which are directly related to the development in question.
NLC deputy leader Rob Waltham said that there was a “balancing act” required to make sure the council only takes its “fair share” of solar developments.
“We must not forget that we are a relatively small area, largely rural and while North Lincolnshire provides an attractive offer for many businesses, we need to ensure that we are striking the right balance,” he said.
In November a project by North Lincolnshire Homes was approved aiming to install rooftop solar on “as many” of the housing association’s homes in the area.