The guidance makes clear the importance of environmental protections in deciding applications, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said today (29 July 2013).
The planning guidance confirms that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override local environmental and heritage protections and the concerns of local communities.
The guidance addresses genuine issues some communities have when it comes to developments such as onshore wind and solar farms, and ensures environmental considerations like landscape and heritage are given proper weight when determining applications.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:
The views of local people must be listened to when making planning decisions. Meeting Britain’s energy needs should not be used to justify the wrong development in the wrong location.
This new guidance is an important step in ensuring that communities can continue to shape their local surroundings and that landscape and heritage are properly considered and protected.
Planning always works best when local communities themselves have the opportunity to influence the decisions that affect their lives. That is why it is so important every area has a local plan in place as soon as possible.
Notes to editors
The planning practice guidance for renewable and low carbon energy provides advice on planning issues associated with the development of renewable energy.
The urgent need for new guidance means this is being published in advance of other planning practice guidance that will shortly be available as a new web-based resource.
The new guidance replaces the previous administration’s Planning for renewable energy: a companion guide to PPS22 which was cancelled today.
Planning has an important role in delivering new renewable energy projects in locations where the local environmental impact is acceptable and in addition to new guidance the government recently announced a number of new measures to support communities and their decision making for renewable energy projects.
These include making pre-application consultation with local people compulsory for more significant onshore wind applications, and ensuring communities reap increased benefits from hosting renewable energy developments that do proceed. The industry will revise its community benefits protocol so there will be a 5-fold increase in the value of community benefit paid for by developers.
Best practice guidance from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to onshore wind developers will also lay down the higher standards expected in relation to their engagement with communities.