New planning document for future renewable energy development in North Lincolnshire

Councillor Rob Waltham
Councillor Rob Waltham

North Lincolnshire Council has approved a supplementary planning document (SPD) that will guide future solar photovoltaic (PV) development in North Lincolnshire and ensure that the area takes no more than its fair share.

Renewable energy development is a key issue for communities in North Lincolnshire. The area has been and continues to be subject to proposals for renewable energy development for wind turbines and more recently solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays.

These have placed pressure on the area’s landscape, environment and communities.

A number of developments have already gone ahead, including a solar PV array near Scunthorpe.

The main SPD guidance will ensure that:

Future development of solar PV arrays is concentrated on previously developed or industrial land, and on existing roofs, or integrated into new roofs and buildings.

Where proposals involve agricultural land, it needs to be demonstrated that this is necessary and that poorer quality land be used instead of land of a higher quality

Impacts on the landscape and visual amenity, biodiversity and heritage assets are also key considerations. Any proposals must ensure that they are minimised.

The policy will also formalise the requirement for developers to compensate the communities affected with financial assistance for local projects.

The SPD expands on existing policies from the adopted Core Strategy (June 2011) and from the North Lincolnshire Local Plan (May 2013).

It sets out a clear planning policy framework for developers, communities and decision makers on those issues that need to be addressed as part of any proposal for solar PV arrays in North Lincolnshire.

North Lincolnshire Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Rob Waltham said: “While we appreciate the benefits that renewable energy brings, we also have a balancing act to make in ensuring that we do not become overrun with solar energy developments and only take our fair share.

“We have already attracted major developers Able UK who are leading the way on renewable energy in North Lincolnshire and the rest of the country, developing the UK’s largest Enterprise Zone with their offshore wind turbine development. This is creating thousands of job and training opportunities and will act as a catalyst in attracting more businesses to North Lincolnshire.

“But 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.

“The supplementary planning document will ensure just that. It will ensure that potential developers take into consideration things like the impact on communities, landscape, heritage, flood risk and that the chosen site is right for that type of development.

“It also sets out existing national and local planning policy relating to renewable energy development and solar PV arrays in particular.

“We are not saying we don’t want this type of development. What we are saying is that all the necessary considerations must be taken into account before any decisions are made – both by the developers and the council, and that together we do all we can to protect our landscape, environment and communities.”