Within our Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) we have a policy to support sources of renewable energy – we recognise high levels of carbon emissions come from heating our residential dwellings. We also had a duty to ensure policies were written to preserve and conserve the natural landscape and beauty of the area.
At the time the NDP was being consulted on and written, the main priority for people was to preserve the natural landscape and character of the area (bear in mind the plan was submitted after its Regulation 14 consultation in 2019 – with the formal process of examination and checking for compliance being delayed due to the Covid pandemic). We recognise that people’s individual needs and priorities change as external factors come into force – we are currently seeing an unprecedented fuel crisis as well as a climate emergency and clearly even within the space of a few years, people’s priorities have altered.
We would not want to discourage residents from considering renewable energy options or from applying for any grants which may be available: our Renewable Energy Policy (REN) has the intention to “encourage provision of additional renewable energy potential and ensure that renewable energy is facilitated in a way that reflects the sensitive character of Calstock Parish”.
Clearly there is a balance to be struck between the impact on the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB, versus the benefits of providing renewable energy at a dwelling, given the climate change crisis. Therefore, each application will be taken on its individual merit. Because of a number of policies (not just our NDP), in making the final decision, Cornwall Council Planning Officers will consider the visual impact of the panels and their prominence in their surrounding landscapes weighed up against the environmental and energy benefits.
In the new Council year (May) we are implementing a Planning Strategy Advisory Committee. One aim of this group will be to monitor the NDP and other relevant planning policies and review them, recommending modifications to the Parish Council as appropriate. As the NDP has now been ratified any modification must be carefully thought through with a strong case for change. Reviewing ‘live’ applications against policy will help us assess whether the current policies help or hinder a change in community priority or need.
Our NDP can be viewed here
The Renewable Energy Policy can be found from pages 79-90
I remember, when the AONB was proposed, a Council apparatchik telling us that there was no intention to make it more difficult for residents wanting to improve their homes.
And the hollow laughter that greeted this rubbish.
We knew, back then, that it might become a way for some people to be as obstructive as they possibly could if you needed or wanted to do some work on your house.
Solar panels are a brilliant idea.
What’s the difference between them and the slates/tiles you could see otherwise?
As the great Jack James once said, about this madness ‘can you imagine them letting the viaduct be built?’
‘We would not want to discourage residents from considering renewable energy options’
I think you might…
Perhaps the Clerk could confirm that the plan is dealing with commercial rather than domestic solar installations? That is the wording at 22.11(b).
The principle would be the same for both domestic and commercial applications. As previously stated, we welcome applications and will consider each one in line with our NDP policies, the Cornwall Local Plan and National Planning Policy Framework. We also consider the views of the AONB and/or Conservation Officers where it is possible to do so at the time of our meetings.
There are permitted development rights for solar, even in a World Heritage area. Are you saying that people in the area now have to apply to put panels on their own roof even if they meet the permitted development criteria? That would make no sense considering the declarations of climate emergency.
NDP does not and cannot change permitted development rights.