Waveney Local Plan

Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

8.143 Planning plays a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One way in which planning can achieve this is by being supportive of appropriately conceived renewable energy developments. Waveney is already home to a number of renewable energy and low carbon developments, including wind turbines in Lowestoft, Kessingland and Holton, solar farms around Ellough and an anaerobic digester in Ellough.

8.144 The National Planning Policy Framework requires Local Plans to develop a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources. The Framework encourages Local Plans to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development, consider identifying suitable areas for development and support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy. A written ministerial statement (18 June 2015) adds further to national policy with respect to wind farms which states that wind energy development should only be permitted if the site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local Plan or Neighbourhood Plan and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.

230 Ellough Solar Panels

8.145 It should be noted that not all renewable energy and low carbon developments within Waveney are determined by Waveney District Council as the planning authority. The Council is only responsible for renewable and low carbon energy development of 50 megawatts or less installed capacity.

8.146 Whilst the Council is keen to support renewable energy developments, it is aware that these developments can have significant negative effects on the environment, including heritage, biodiversity and landscape. Proposals for renewable energy should be considered against Policies WLP8.32, WLP8.33, WLP8.34, WLP8.35, WLP8.36 and WLP8.37 of the Local Plan on these issues. Renewable and low carbon energy developments can also have an affect on amenity of residents and workers nearby through, noise, smell, shadow flicker and glare. Developments can also cause safety issues, such as distraction of drivers and equipment failure. The National Planning Practice Guidance gives a full range of considerations for different types of renewable and low carbon technology. The Council will use this when determining applications for renewable and low carbon energy development.

8.147 The Government places great emphasis on local people being in control of delivering renewable and low carbon energy developments. The Council therefore believes that Neighbourhood Plans are best placed to identify suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy projects. As Neighbourhood Plans have to go through a referendum, this is a key way of demonstrating local support and commitment to a local renewable and low carbon energy project. Suitable areas identified in Neighbourhood Plans will need to be in conformity with all of the policies of this Local Plan, but particularly Policies WLP8.32, WLP8.33, WLP8.34, WLP8.35, WLP8.36 and WLP8.37 on biodiversity, the landscape and the historic environment. 

Policy WLP8.27 - Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

The Council will support Neighbourhood Plans in identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy development.

Renewable and low carbon energy schemes will be permitted where:

  • There are no significant adverse effects on the amenities of nearby properties, there are no adverse safety impacts and no significant adverse effects on the transport network; or
  • The proposal is in a suitable area for renewable and low carbon energy as identified in a Neighbourhood Plan. For wind energy the proposed development must also have the backing of the community.

Cumulative effects and the impact of ancillary infrastructure will form part of the assessment for planning applications for renewable and low carbon energy developments.

When the technology is no longer operational there is a requirement to decommission, remove the facility and complete a restoration of the site to its original condition.