Our policy statement on renewables

20th February 2021

As new solar farm development applications pop up across rural Derbyshire, we want to be at the forefront of ensuring they are well designed and located from the perspective of the countryside assets we all need.

After much discussion and consulting the evidence on best practice, we have developed a statement of policy and intent on development associated with renewable energy.

At our recent Committee meeting, this was adopted as follows:

Derbyshire CPRE Policy Statement on Solar PV Farms in the Open Countryside, February 2021

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.  Renewable energy, from wind, solar and water can and will make an important contribution to reducing emissions.

CPRE Derbyshire supports the development of renewable energy, but we acknowledge that renewable energy installations, particularly wind farms and solar PV farms, are industrial structures and therefore need to be carefully sited and of the right scale in order to minimise damage to landscape character and amenity.

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 industrial sites with minimal visual impact on the countryside.  It should be a requirement of any proposed new industrial or commercial development that provision is made for wind, solar or water power installations on the site, and that solar PV panels are fitted as standard.
  2. All new housing developments granted planning permission should include a requirement to incorporate energy conservation methods and solar PV as standard.
  3. Solar PV farms in open countryside should only be considered on sites where the topography limits the visual impact of the scheme, and should never to sited where harm will be done to sensitive or valued landscapes.
  4. Solar PV farms in open countryside should not harm views from local settlements or adversely impact on the setting of rural settlements.
  5. Solar PV farms in open countryside should not be sited on good quality agricultural land.
  6. There should be a requirement that biodiversity enhancement measures are a standard condition of any solar PV installation in the countryside.

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.