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Our policy statement on renewables

As new development applications for solar, wind and battery installations pop up across rural Derbyshire, we want to be at the forefront of ensuring they are well designed and appropriately located.

At our recent Committee meeting, the following position statement was adopted.

Derbyshire CPRE Position Statement on Renewable Energy and Associated Development in the Open Countryside, September 2023

It is internationally recognised that reducing carbon emissions as rapidly as possible is vital to avoid a climate disaster.  The climate changes we are already seeing are having a detrimental impact on the countryside, and this situation will deteriorate quickly if no action is taken.  The natural environment itself acts as a valuable carbon sink helping to improve air quality and boost biodiversity.  Renewable energy, from wind, solar and water can and will make an important contribution to achieving Net Zero targets.

CPRE Derbyshire supports the development of renewable energy, but we recognise that renewable energy developments, in this area largely wind farms and solar photovoltaic farms and associated developments such as Battery Energy Storage Systems, are industrial installations. Therefore, they need to be carefully sited and of an appropriate scale to minimise harm to agriculture, landscape character, amenity and public safety.

When considering planning applications for solar energy installations, we will be guided by the following principles:

  1. Preference should be given to renewable energy projects on rooftops and brownfield sites which minimise the impact on the countryside.
  2. Small scale renewable energy installations, adjacent to or on the rooftops of commercial premises, producing energy for their own use, will generally be supported.
  3. Neighbourhood and Local Plans should require that:
    a) that provision is made for wind, solar or water power installations on the sites of any proposed new industrial or commercial development and that rooftop solar panels are fitted as standard
    b) all new housing developments granted planning permission should include a requirement to incorporate energy conservation methods and rooftop solar as standard.
  4. Solar, wind and battery installations in open countryside should only be considered on sites where the land quality and topography are suitable and already limits the visual impact of the scheme.  They should never be sited where they could:
    a) harm designated, sensitive or valued landscapes (including landscapes highly valued by the local community)
    b) adversely impact on the setting of rural settlements, including interrupting open views from those settlements or
    c) be a potential safety threat to local people.
  5. Renewable energy and associated installations should not be sited on good quality agricultural land which is capable of supporting food production.
  6. Robust community consultation should take place prior to the submission of any application for a renewable energy installation.  Every proposal should include clear visualisations of the impact of the installation together with a statement of community benefit, approved by the local community.