New planning guidance has been issued by Cornwall Council on renewable energy schemes to “ensure that the right applications come forward in the right places”.
In 1991, the county found itself at the forefront of the emerging renewable energy industry when the country’s first commercial wind farm was installed at Deli Farm, near Delabole in North Cornwall.
Since then, dozens of wind farms have been proposed, prompting fierce debate over the technology’s environmental credentials and ability to generate electricity.
Despite often widespread opposition, there are now nine operational wind farms in the county, stretching from Morwenstow in the north to Goonhilly in the west.
Latterly, applications for large solar farms – some spanning dozens of acres – have been submitted.
Cornwall Council has now responded by posting guidance documents on its website for anyone wanting to submit such a scheme.
Covering a range of technologies including wind, solar, hydro and heat pumps, the documents give design and preparation advice as well as explaining the level of information normally required to support a planning application.
“Cornwall is currently heavily dependent on the importation of electricity and fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, importing approximately £1.4 billion of energy each year,” said Councillor Julian German, the authority’s portfolio holder for climate change.
“This dependence on imported energy has a detrimental impact on our economy and environment and makes Cornwall particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs.
“Cornwall is blessed with a range of renewable resources from which electricity and heat can be generated and we are keen that residents and businesses in Cornwall consider the sustainable use of these resources to help meet their energy needs.
“The renewable energy planning guidance will be useful for applicants, residents, town and parish councils and planning committee members and will help to ensure that the right applications come forward in the right places.
“While generating more renewable energy is tremendously important for Cornwall, this needs to be in harmony with our fantastic heritage and landscape.”
The extensive guidance has been produced thanks to funding from the Leadership for Energy Action and Planning project, a European scheme aimed at sharing expertise to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy.
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