Local Plan to 2030 - Main Modifications September 2018

Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy ENV10 – Renewable and Low Carbon Energy (MM91)

Amend paragraph 5.379 and 5.380 as follows:

5.379 5.379   Following concerns by local communities into the insufficient weight given to the environment with regard to landscape, heritage and local amenity in relation to wind farms, the government issued a statement (6 June 2013) updated national guidance, making it clear that local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing. No such areas are identified in this local plan and thus on-shore wind energy is not anticipated to be acceptable unless an area is identified in a Neighbourhood Plan. expecting local plans to include policies to ensure the adverse impact from wind farms, including cumulative landscape and visual impact are addressed satisfactorily.

5.380 5.380 The government intends to amend legislation so that LPAs will handle all planning applications for onshore wind energy development. Kent Downs AONB JAC has produced a Renewable Energy Position Statement (Updated June 2011) in which it states that due to the high sensitivity of the Kent Downs AONB it considers that large scale commercial wind turbine developments will be unacceptable. The statement also considers it extremely unlikely that any location can be found in or within the setting of the AONB where field-scale solar PV arrays, such as solar farms, does not have a significant adverse effect on the landscape. National policy guidance also highlights the need to focus large scale solar farms on previously developed land and non-agricultural land and as a last resort, low grade agricultural land. This greatly limits the availability of potential sites within the Borough.

Amend Policy ENV10 as follows:

Policy ENV10 - Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

Planning permission applications for proposals to generate energy from renewable and low carbon sources will be permitted provided that:

a)    The development, either individually or cumulatively does not result in significant adverse impacts on the landscape, natural assets or historic assets (including their setting), having special regard to nationally recognised designations and their setting, such as AONBs, Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings;

a) The scale and design of renewable energy provision is compatible with the character and appearance of the area, having special regard to nationally recognised designations and their setting, such as AONBs, Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings;

b) The development does not generate an unacceptable level of traffic or loss of amenity to nearby residents (visual impact, noise, disturbance, shadow flicker, odour);

c)  Provision is made for the decommissioning of the infrastructure once operation has ceased, including the restoration of the site to its previous use;

d)  Evidence is provided to demonstrate effective engagement with the local community and local authority.

A Sustainability Assessment statement should be submitted alongside any planning application illustrating the social, environmental and economic benefits of the proposal against this how the proposal complies with the criteria above criterion and any mitigation measures necessary, and be informed by a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.