Planners block Midlands green belt solar farm

A bid to build a 5 MW solar farm on green belt land in the Midlands has been refused planning permission after district planners judged that it would be contrary to local and national planning policy.

Solar: green belt scheme refused
Solar: green belt scheme refused

The application decision had been delegated to South Derbyshire District Council planning officers who ruled that developer SunEdison’s application for the scheme between Swadlincote and Burton-upon-Trent did not contain evidence of the very special circumstances that would be needed to justify the development in the green belt.

A decision letter said the planners found that the solar array and associated infrastructure would cause significant harm to landscape character and visual appreciation of the valley between the two towns.

It said this harm would "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh the benefits of the renewable energy that the scheme would produce.

"The proposal is therefore contrary to saved Environment Policy 1 of the South Derbyshire Local Plan 1998 and paragraphs 17 and 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework, not representing a balanced approach to sustainable development due to the degree of environmental and social harm arising," the letter said.

The letter added that the solar farm would sit prominently in views of Grade II* listed Brizlincote Hall Farm from public vantage points, and appear as an "alien and urban feature" within the otherwise rural and natural landscape that provides the setting to the hall.

SunEdison was approached for comment, but had not responded by the time of publication.

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