Solar farms rejected in green barrier

Two solar farm schemes on sites in close proximity to each other in Wales were rejected by an inspector who found that individually both would cause unacceptable harm to a green barrier and 19-hectares of best quality agricultural land.

Both sites were located within a green barrier, a designation accorded the same planning policy protection as green belt in Planning Policy Wales (PPW). The inspector concluded that a solar farm is not an appropriate form of development in a green barrier, and an exception to development restraint not justified despite an important contribution to renewable energy. The inspector also disagreed with the appellants that a rural location was essential for solar farms, and noted that an assessment of other available sites outside the green barrier had not been undertaken.

In addition, the inspector found harm to the character and appearance of the area, loss of BMV farmland and a lack of adherence to flood risk policy to be compelling reasons to dismiss the appeals. The inspector took account of the 25-year temporary nature of the developments but decided the effects would be evident for a considerable amount of time and good quality agricultural land was a finite resource.

Inspector: Vicki Hirst; Hearing

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