The countryside generation game
Our analysis of the evidence indicates the Government’s changes to, and interventions in, the renewable energy planning system since summer 2013 have clearly reduced the proportion of solar farm and onshore wind projects receiving planning approval. This has helped reduce the associated landscape impacts and other local effects. However, our analysis also suggests that the jury is still out on whether the planning policy changes have achieved a better long-term balance between local environmental protection and producing low-carbon energy.
From the analysis set out in this report, CPRE make recommendations on the need for clear guidance for decision makers and a strategic, plan-led approach to developing renewable energy infrastructure which addresses cumulative impacts on landscape. We would also like to see brownfield land unsuitable for housing being used for solar farms in preference to greenfield sites, and the subsidy regime should be used to encourage this. We also need to overcome major barriers to the extensive use of commercial roofspace for solar electricity.