North Lincolnshire Council has released a Supplementary Planning Document  setting out its stance on renewables and solar PV in particular.
The council’s Supplementary Planning Document makes it clear that a proposed PV application will need a very robust case demonstrating that all aspects pertaining to potential impacts have been addressed.
In particular, it must be demonstrated that there will be no detriment to the countryside, landscapes or those living and working in the area. Developments should also be concentrated on previously developed land, roofs, or lower quality land.
Cumulative impacts are specifically mentioned as a relevant factor, particularly for visual impact concerns.
Reading between the lines
The council’s document sets out the requirements for proposed applications and refers to striking an appropriate balance between renewable energy projects and negative impacts.
The council has reportedly  said that it is not against this type of development, but that all necessary considerations must be taken into account.
In practice, the document feels quite negative from a developer’s perspective. There is extensive discussion of impacts that could prevent development whilst the sections describing the positive aspects are far less prominent.
How to get permission for PV in North Lincolnshire
The document sets out 14 specific policies, listed below. It must be demonstrated that all of these factors have been considered and any associated impacts have been addressed.
- A – Community Consultation
- B – Community Benefits
- C – Site Selection and Agricultural Land Quality
- D – Landscape & Visual Impact
- E – Assessing Cumulative Impacts
- F – Heritage
- G – Biodiversity
- H – Glint and Glare
- I – Flood Risk & Drainage
- J – Public Rights of Way
- K – Site Security
- L – Construction
- M – Groundworks
- N – Decommissioning of Solar Farms
The possibility of providing a community benefit is specifically referenced within the document. It is clearly stated that community benefits must be:
- Directly related to the development
- Necessary to make the proposal acceptable in planning terms
- Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposal
The document advises that provision of community funds and investment typically does not meet these criteria. The document does nevertheless give examples of funds/investments that can be agreed between a developer and the community (Section 6.12 of the council’s document).
Image accreditations:”North_Lincolnshire_UK_locator_map” via Wikimedia Commons, Created by Nilfanion, Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Image resized from original.
 Bid to limit number of solar panels in North Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe Telegraph. (Last accessed 22/01/16).