Draft PPS 18: Renewable Energy
Policy RE 1 Justification & Amplification: Natural & Built Heritage Considerations
4.4. Planning permission for renewable energy developments likely to have a significant effect on a Site of International Nature Conservation Importance2 or a World Heritage Site will only be granted once an assessment has shown that the integrity of the site would not be adversely affected.
4.5. If the renewable energy development would have, or is likely to have an adverse effect on the integrity of a Site of International Nature Conservation Importance, planning permission will only be granted where there is no alternative solution and there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature.
4.6. In addition, where a Special Area of Conservation hosts a priority habitat or species3and there are no alternative solutions, development will not be permitted unless it is necessary for reasons of human health, public safety, or a beneficial consequence of primary importance to the environment, or to other reasons which in the opinion of the Department, having considered the opinion of the European Commission, are imperative reasons of overriding public interest. Where planning permission is permitted on or affecting any site of international nature conservation importance, appropriate compensatory measures are required.
4.7. Where development with an adverse effect on the integrity of a Site of International Nature Conservation Importance is considered necessary because of the lack of alternative solutions and imperative reasons of overriding public interest, compensatory measures will need to be put in place to ensure the overall coherence of the network of international sites is protected. This will require the new habitats to be fully ecologically functional before the predicted adverse effects occur.
4.8. Planning permission for renewable energy projects in sites with national/regional designations for natural or built heritage interests (Areas of Special Scientific Interest; Areas of Scientific Interest; National Nature Reserves; National Parks; Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Monuments in State Care and Scheduled Monuments; Conservation Areas; Listed Buildings; and Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes) will only be granted where it can be demonstrated that the objectives of the designation will not be compromised by the development, or are clearly outweighed by the environmental, economic and social benefits of the proposal.
4.9 For renewable energy proposals affecting local designations such as an Area of Townscape Character or a Site of Local Nature Conservation Importance planning permission will be granted provided there is no significant adverse effect on the designation.
4.10 In all cases careful consideration will be given to the scale, siting, design and layout of the proposal. The significance of environmental effects may depend on the type and scale of the renewable energy development and the sensitivity of the location. As the sensitivity of location between and within different designated areas can vary, each proposal will be assessed against the specific reason for designation, taking into account uniqueness, beauty, and character of landscape, habitat and species, physiographic, geological, heritage and cultural features. Policy relating to these matters is set out in the Department’s Planning Policy Statement 2 Planning and Nature Conservation (currently under review), and Planning Policy Statement 6 Planning Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
4.11 Where a renewable energy development is likely to have an adverse effect on the natural heritage or nature conservation interests, the Department will require developers to bring forward mitigation measures, and where appropriate the scope for compensatory measures may be considered. Further information on this matter is set out in PPS 2 Planning and Nature Conservation.
2 Special Protection Areas (including potential SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (including candidate SACs), Sites of Community Importance and Ramsar Sites
3 Priority habitats and species are defined in annexes 1 and 2 of the EC Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora