Draft PPS18: Renewable Energy
Annex 3 Community Benefits: Planning Agreements
To Enable Development to Proceed
1.1 Where a development would have implications for the public provision of infrastructure a developer may be required to make an in-kind or financial contribution towards its provision. It is possible that the development of a windfarm or other large scale renewable energy project would have such implications with the developer being required to enter into a legal agreement under Article 40 of Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 in the provision of, for instance:
- road infrastructure improvements outside of the application site;
- wildlife habitat management or creation in mitigation for adverse impacts of the construction; and/or
- payments to overcome adverse implications for communication networks such as TV or radar.
1.2 The developer might wish to volunteer “gains” beyond those matters that could be legitimately described as necessary for the development to proceed. Such “gains” could be offered as part of the planning process, or they could be undertaken as a separate exercise. The courts have held that this approach is not, in itself, unlawful. Whether the developer enters into an agreement with the Department or offers these extra benefits unilaterally, the important point here is that, as such offers are not necessary for the development to proceed, they must not impact upon the decision-making process.