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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Renewable Energy Planning

Renewable energy planning guidance

Renewable energy planning guidance is subject to changes in national government policy and decisions on future low carbon technology options. A summary of relevant planning links is provided, but further advice should always be sought from local planning authorities.

National renewable energy planning guidance

Please note that many planning issues are site-specific and planning applications are determined by local planning authorities.

Sustainable energy in Neighbourhood Plans

In general Neighbourhood Plans form part of the statutory development plan, therefore policies must only address the development and use of land. The online Planning Practice Guidance states that plans should "provide a practical framework within which decisions on planning applications can be made with a high degree of predictability and efficiency" i.e. an aspiration to become a low carbon community does not provide specific planning guidance, but identification of potential sites for a community renewable energy project in a Neighbourhood Plan may be admissible as relating directly to the use of land.

In many cases independent examiners have advised that Neighbourhood Plans cannot include a requirement that that new development is built to the highest possible standards of environmental and energy efficiency. Instead new development is only required to comply with current national Building Regulations.

However, Regen SW and the Centre for Sustainable Energy are encouraging communities to be more ambitious about sustainable energy in Neighbourhood Plans. The following web sites have local planning guidance:

Dorset renewable energy planning guidance

The following guidance produced by Dorset Council and it's partners.

  • Guidance on Energy Crops in Dorset from Dorset Council (published in 2009 by the authority previously known as Dorset County Council) but many of the considerations remain valid
  • Guidance for solar farm developments and wind turbines from the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). However current government policy (December 2016) has removed most of the financial support previously available for solar farms and national planning policy has blocked all but the smallest scale on-shore wind energy developments
  • Landscape Sensitivity Assessments for solar farms and wind energy developments in Christchurch and East Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck.

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