Solar farm approved close to national park

Assessing the appearance of the 8.7 hectare solar farm, incorporating five inverter cabins, a substation, switchgear housing, two communication buildings, 28 CCTV cameras and perimeter fencing, as industrial, an inspector nonetheless decided its impact on the rural landscape was acceptable.

The appeal site comprised two fields in an undulating rural landscape within 2.5km from the national park boundary, the type of environment national planning practice guidance advises as being particularly sensitive to the effects of solar farms.

Having regard to the appellant’s landscape and visual impact assessment, the inspector considered that the sensitivity of the landscape in the vicinity of the appeal site was reduced by its proximity to a motorway and urban edge industrial estates. He also observed that inter-visibility with the surrounding landscape would be limited as a result of the undulating topography and existing vegetation. Subject to a condition securing mitigating boundary planting, the inspector concluded the proposal would have only moderate visual harm on the landscape, and given also the weight of national policy support for renewable energy, allowed the appeal.

Inspector: Richard McCoy; Written representations

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