Sandra HayesSenior Project Manager Planning Issues NEF Renewables A Department of The National Energy Foundation
The Purpose of the Planning System • To regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. • To reconcile the demand for development and the protection of the environment. • To contribute to the Government’s strategy for sustainable development. (PPG 1 General Policy Principles, Paragraph 39, 1997)
The Planning Decision • If planning permission is required, the following steps are necessary:- • Consider the views from other government departments and other bodies, including the general public. • Consider government policies, as expressed in Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs). • Take into account the provisions of the development plan – s54A ‘the determination shall be in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.’ • Material considerations (including subsequent national policy statements or changes in local circumstances).
National Planning Policy • PPG (Planning Policy Guidance) Note 22 issued in 1993 relates to Renewable Energy. • Paragraph 20 states:- • In planning for the use of land by energy-generating installations, the Government’s general aims are: • (a) to ensure that society’s needs for energy are satisfied, consistent with protecting the local and global environment. • (b) to ensure that any environmental damage or loss of amenity caused by energy supply and ancillary activities is minimised; and • (c) to prevent unnecessary sterilisation of energy resources.
Annexes to PPG22 • Include a detailed Annex on Wind Energy. • Further Annexes (as PPG 22A) were added in October 1994 relating to energy from waste combustion, hydro power, wood fuel, anaerobic digestion, landfill gas and active solar systems. • New Annex on PV published April 02
Annex on Wind Energy (1) • The most detailed of the Annexes • Divided into two sections • The technology, encompassing wind turbine characteristics; wind farms; grid connection; sitting; and degree of disturbance. • The planning implications incorporating such issues as proximity to power lines, airports, roads and railways, shadow flicker, noise, electromagnetic interference, siting and landscape amongst others.
Annex on Wind Energy (2) • Paragraph 59 states Local Planning Authorities must always weigh the desirability of exploiting a clean, renewable energy source against the visual impact on the landscape of wind turbines.’
Annex on Wind Energy (3) • Annex gives no indication of how the balance between development and protecting the environment should be struck. • Emphasis very much on local issues and implications, with little or no reference to national policies or objectives. • Conflicting decisions on whether national need for renewable energy can outweigh visual impact. • The fact that there are alternative sites can be used as a reason for non-development. • Small amount of energy produced as against fossil fuel plants has also been used as a reason for refusal.
Wind Power Progress through the Planning System • First quarter 2003 totals for wind power consent equal 567MW of new capacity from 10 projects. This compares favourably with approvals gained in previous years: Year Refused (MW) Approved (MW) 2000 60.675 78.68 2001 89.29 157.4 2002 122.65 621.12 2003 1st Q 22.9 567.25 (Reference BWEA – www.bwea.com/planning/1Qbriefing.html)
Annex on Photovoltaics (April 2002) • On new buildings, the consideration for the planning authority (lpa) is the visual impact. • On existing buildings, the lpa has to decide if the PV array would be a material alteration of the external appearance of the building. Even if it is a material alteration a planning application may not be required as there may be a ‘permitted development right’. • Special provisions relate to listed buildings, conservation areas, National Parks etc.
PPG 11- Regional Planning • Regional assessments have been undertaken to determine how each Government Region can contribute toward Government’s target of 10% of electricity from renewable energy by 2010. • PPG 11 sets out role of RPG in assisting with delivery of these targets by ‘defining broad locations for renewable energy development and setting criteria to help local planning authorities select suitable sites in their plans.’
Regional Targets Region Low(TWh) % High (TWh) % East of England 4.3 13.3 4.3 13.3 East Midlands 1.8 5.6 2.0 6.1 London 0.2 0.7 0.6 1.9 North East 0.9 2.7 2.0 6.3 North West 2.8 8.6 3.2 9.7 South East 1.4 4.4 3.3 10.1 South West 1.2 3.7 2.5 7.8 West Midlands 2.5 7.7 2.9 8.9 Yorkshire & Humber 1.2 3.8 3.6 11 Scotland 3.6 11.1 3.6 11.1 Wales 1.3 4.2 4.4 13.4 Total RO 21.3 66 32.3 100
The Energy White Paper (1) • Planning identified as one of the big obstacles to new renewables. • New PPS 22 to be published for consultation – due before Parliament rises in July 03 (with a view to bringing out a new version by the end of the year). • Internal review of PPG 7 on planning in the Countryside. • Separate guide on best practice also to be published to give guidance to local authorities and developers.
The Energy White Paper (2) • Also proposes consultation on new regional level strategic approach to energy issues which will incorporate regional targets. • The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to look at bringing the use of renewables and energy efficiency in developments more within the scope of the planning system. • Government to look at planning statistics for renewables.
Types of Development Plan • The main types are: • Structure Plans – prepared by County Councils • Local Plans – prepared by District Councils • Unitary Plans – prepared by Unitary Authorities. Divided into two parts – Part I that is the equivalent of a structure plan and Part II that provides a detailed local plan for the district. • National Parks also prepare their own Plans
Dover District Council Local Plan Adopted 2002 Chapter 7 on Environmental Resources includes policy on renewable energy. Details each type of renewable energy, including wind resource map. Chapter 8 includes policies on energy use.
Policy ER1 Proposals for the development of energy from renewable resources will be permitted provided that:- • The benefits of renewable energy generation outweigh any adverse impacts; • Waste combustion development is located on land identified for development within Use Class B2; and • Where practicable, they are located in close proximity to the existing electricity distribution infrastructure.
Policy DD2 “Permission for the installation of solar panels will be granted provided that the proposal does not result in a change in the appearance of the property which is detrimental to its character or the character of the surrounding area.”
East Herts Local Plan – Second Review (Deposit Version) • SD2 (New Policy) Renewable Energy The District Council supports, in principle, the development of facilities for both: (a) commercial renewable energy generation; and (b) small scale local renewable energy generation.
SD3 (New Policy) Energy Statements (I) Planning applications for one or more dwellings, or other forms of development of greater than 100 sq.m gross floorspace, will be expected to be accompanied by the submission of an ‘Energy Statement’. This Statement should include a comprehensive report of the efforts made by the applicant to incorporate layouts and designs which exploit the potential for both renewable energy and energy efficiency.
SD3 Continued (II) Planning permission will be refused if the Energy Statement is not submitted or is not satisfactory. (III) An Energy Statement can be submitted with an outline planning application.
Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill Dec 02 • Removal of Structure Plans, leaving a two tier system of Local and Regional plans (Regional Spatial Strategies). • Duty on local planning authorities to prepare a statement of community involvement. • Statutory duty for Local Development Documents and RSS to contribute to sustainable development.
Planning Conditions • Planning authority is entitled to grant permission ‘subject to such conditions as they think fit’ (s70(1)(a) Town and Country Planning Act 1990, but the following test have to be applied before conditions can be imposed: • 2. Is it relevant to planning? • 1. Is it necessary in relation to the development proposed? • 3. Is it relevant to the development proposed? • 4. Is it enforceable? • 5. Is it precise? • 6. Is it reasonable?
Planning Obligations (s106 Agreements) • S106 provides that any person interested in land in the area of the local planning authority may, by agreement or otherwise, enter into an obligation: • (a) restricting the development or use of land in any specified way; • (b) requiring specific operations or activities to be carried out in, on, under or over land • (c) requiring the land to be used in a specific way; or • (d) requiring a sum or sums to be paid to the authority on a specified date or dates or periodically
Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) • Used to provide detail on specific issues not in the development plan. Should not contradict development plan or introduce new policy. • It does not go through the same consultation process as development plans and consequently carries less weight. • SPG may be taken into account as a material consideration. • The ethos behind the publication of SPG is to bridge the gap between development plan and planning application.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s SPG on Wind Energy • Originally drafted as a reaction to a specific application from the Hockerton Housing Project. • National and local guidance was considered not to be sufficient to deal fairly with the application. • Contains 3 specific policies on wind: • W1 Wind in the countryside • W2 The impact of wind turbines on wildlife and human heritage designations • W3 Wind turbines associated with existing or proposed employment development.
Policy W1: Wind Turbines in the Countryside • ‘Planning permission will be granted for wind turbines in the countryside where: • The environmental impacts of noise generation, shadow flicker and electromagnetic disturbance are acceptable; • The individual or cumulative effect of turbines in the countryside do not create an unacceptable visual impact on the landscape; and • The development achieves a net environmental gain.’ • Copy can be downloaded from www.nsenergyagency.co.uk/Renewables.html and • From Local Authority Energy Advisory Service website – www.easiest.org.uk
The Cricklade Decision • Planning application made by Ambient for 5.5MW power station at Cricklade in North Wiltshire. • Needed 32,000 tonnes of wood a year, which would have meant 15 lorry journeys a day. • Proposed site within Cricklade’s rural buffer zone. • Strong local opposition. Campaigners formed an action group – BLOT – Biomass Lumbered on our Landscape – 400 letters in protest written. • Planning application turned down by the Council and the Inspector on Appeal.
Do Politics have a Role? • Local Authority planning officers make a recommendation but • The planning decision will be made by the local planning committee (Councillors). • Councillors will have their own views and they are elected.
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 • Schedule 2 of the GDPO provides details of development which can be undertaken without the need to seek planning permission. • But note, a Council may have removed some of the permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction.
Development within the Curtilage of Dwelling House (Part 1) • Class C - any other alteration to the roof (relevant to solar panels) but development is not permitted which would result in a material alteration to the the shape of the roof.
Class E • Class E – Buildings and other structures on the land around your house incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house as such. (relevant to small wind turbines?) • Town and Country Planning Association working on more specific General Permitted Development rights for domestic small scale renewables.
So….. • Will permit installation of solar water and photovoltaic panels in the areas not excluded. • The DETR’s guidelines (“ Planning – A Guide for Householders, “ Section G ) says “ you do not need to apply for permission for the installation of solar panels which do not project significantly beyond the roof slope.” • Copy available at www.planning.dtlr.gov.uk/householders/guide.htm#bml or 0870 122 6236
What is ‘significant’? • Case in January 02 in which Inspector on behalf of Purbeck District Council held the Development was not permitted under Class C because it was held that the panels materially altered the shape of the roof (the projection was between 8 and 12cm). Two out of three panels had to be removed.
So the moral is….. • Speak to the local planning office before installing any solar panels, but • The response might be make a planning application!
Major Infrastructure Projects • Under Section 36 of the 1989 Electricity Act, proposals for power stations above 50 megawatts capacity fall to be determined by the DTI, who are required to call a Public Inquiry if a local planning authority objects, and may do so if there are other relevant reasons. • Plans to streamline Public Enquiry process in the Energy White Paper
Cefn Croes Ceredigion • A development of 39 turbines up to 100m high with a proposed output of 50MW plus. • First wind power scheme to be decided by the DTI • Local Councillors did not register an objection. • Therefore no automatic entitlement to an Public enquiry. Although there were of objections from six conservation bodies, the Secretary of State did not use her discretionary powers to call an Inquiry and permission was granted on 23/5/02.
Contact Details Sandra Hayes Project Manager National Energy Foundation Davy Avenue Knowlhill Milton Keynes MK5 8NG Telephone 01908 665555 E-mail: Sandra@greenenergy.org.uk www.greenenergy.org.uk