25th August 2015

General Position statement:

We support the use of a range of renewable energy technologies unless proposals have a detrimental impact on the landscape.

We consider each proposal on its own merits but also take into account the potential cumulative impact of multiple proposals. Therefore, it is not a case of solar farms being a ‘good or bad’ development as each site has its own issues and considerations. A proposal could be acceptable in one landscape but not in another. Similarly where there are a number of developments proposed the cumulative impact could be deemed unacceptable.

The landscape of Cumbria is highly valued at both a national and local level and as such it is important that development respects the unique landscape character of the County by minimising visual impact. With regards the development of solar farms landscape and visual impact needs to be considered from a range of potential viewpoints, particularly the fells which provide long distance views across the County. As with all development in Cumbria visual impact is an important consideration and should be given due weight in the decision making process.

We are supportive of well sited renewable energy proposals in line with our vision for energy policy: A sustainable energy policy that optimises the use of renewable energy sources, reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, minimises the use of non-renewable power sources and production of waste, and enhances landscape character.

Our main concern is the number of these applications and the cumulative effects that could occur across the County.

Considerations when assessing applications for solar:

  • Impact on landscape character and quality when viewed from publicly accessible vantage points
  • Cumulative impact when assessed with other developments
  • Impact on designated sites and valued areas
  • Grade of land
  • Impacts on biodiversity, positive and negative
  • Mitigation – measures such as minimising glint and glare, screening etc.