Wind energy applications
|Policy driver||National Planning Policy Framework| Section 10 Paragraph 97-98|
Planning for Renewable Energy|: A Companion Guide to PPS22
Replacement Unitary Development Plan – Policies EP 29, EP30
|Type of application||All wind turbine applications|
|Geographic locations where this information is required||As required|
|What information is required||See 'Further Information' as there are differing requirements dependant upon the size of the turbine.|
|Where to look for further assistance||If, after reading the 'Further Information', you are still unsure about the information you need to submit, contact the Councils Pollution Control Officers on 01422 392307 / 392373 / 392311.|
The checklist requirement for wind energy is intended to provide greater certainty to applicants concerning the requirements for planning applications for wind turbines, setting out the information that will be needed to determine the level of impact, and will enable a consistent approach to the determination of such applications by the Council.
Please note that where the document refers to turbine height, this should be taken as the maximum height to the blade tip, rather than just the height of the mast or tower.
For all wind turbine applications:
Noise, ‘Shadow Flicker’ and Light Reflection Assessment
The applicant should submit an evidenced noise assessment that confirms either that the decibel level at the nearest 3rd party property will not exceed 35dB(A) at 10 metres / second wind speed or that the turbine noise impact when assessed against the background noise meets the requirements of Good Practice Guide to Wind Turbine Noise|, taking account of the latest industry good practice and any guidance on best practice that the Government may from time to time publish.
To avoid giving rise to shadow flicker effect turbines should be located at a distance of at least 10 x the rotor diameter from dwellings within 130 degrees either side of north from the turbine position.
Where it is to be argued that topography or other feature permits closer siting of a turbine the Council will expect a report to be submitted which calculates and assesses the impact of shadow flicker from this development, and measures to mitigate that impact.
Shadow flicker effects on horses using bridleways within a radius of 10 x rotor diameter should also be addressed. Such reports should be carried out by a suitably qualified person or organisation, and set out clear recommendations.
Light reflection is influenced by the surface finish of the turbine blades. Details should be submitted to indicate the proposed finish designed to mitigate the impact of light reflection.
An indication of how decommissioning will be undertaken, once the turbine(s) has reached the end of it’s operational life. With a larger scheme this could be dealt with through a unilateral undertaking. This may be necessary to prevent redundant wind turbines from remaining in the landscape once the end of their operating life has been reached, and acts as a safeguard in case of any financial constraints which may prevent the owner / operator of the turbine(s) from carrying out decommissioning works in future.
In addition to the above where a wind turbine will be 25 metres or more in height the following should be submitted:
Peat and Hydrology Assessment
Peat is recognised as an important store of carbon, which if damaged can dry out leading to oxidization of stored carbon, resulting in the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Poor siting of turbines risks damaging peat and undermining the role of wind turbines in providing energy with low carbon emissions. Peat also plays an important role in retaining water on Calderdale’s moorlands, helping to prevent flooding further down in the valleys following periods of heavy rainfall. In order to conserve these peatlands, the Council will expect applications for single wind turbines over a height of 25m (or multiple turbines of any height) to identify whether peat exists on the site and demonstrate how the turbine(s) has been sited to avoid it – including details of measures proposed to avoid damage to underlying peat by any proposed access tracks. Where peat is identified on site, the Council reserves the right to request further investigation to determine its extent.
The Council will also expect applications to demonstrate how the construction of any foundations access tracks or trenches for cables will be achieved without substantially altering the hydrological regime of the site – i.e. how tracks, trenches and any other associated infrastructure have been designed and sited to avoid draining peat and avoid creating new channels for surface water to run off the site. Disturbance to underlying peat by wind turbines has the potential to cause adverse impacts on the quantity, quality and colour of water supplies which are replenished by water draining from moorlands. Where underlying peat is identified on site, the Council will expect applications to demonstrate how adverse impacts on the quantity, quality and colour of any potentially affected water supplies will be avoided.
Landscape and Visual and Cumulative Impact Assessment
This should include a landscape and visual impact assessment which demonstrates how visual impacts have been minimised / mitigated and how the proposed turbine(s) will fit into the landscape. The assessment should include details of the following:
- Alternative sites which have been considered for the development
- Alternative turbine amounts / layouts / configurations which have been considered
- Alternative turbine heights / models / appearances which have been considered
- Alternative access arrangements / routes which have been considered
- Landscaping arrangements which have been considered to mitigate the visual / landscape impact of the propose turbine(s).
For each of the above, it should be clearly demonstrated why the chosen arrangements represent the best option in terms of visual and landscape impact minimisation.
The cumulative visual impact of the proposed turbine(s) with other existing operational or permitted turbines, or turbines currently subject to a planning application should be fully addressed in the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment. Landscape and visual impact assessments should make reference to the Landscape Capacity Study for Wind Energy Developments in the South Pennines (Julie Martin Associates, 2010) .
The Council will also expect applications to include an assessment of the impacts of the proposed turbine(s) on significant cultural, recreational or heritage assets which could potentially be affected. This should include any potential sub-surface archaeological issues. For turbines with a total height of under 40m, this should cover assets within a minimum radius of ten times turbine height (the Council reserves the right to request an assessment of the impacts on significant assets outside this radius if it is deemed necessary). For proposed turbines with a total height of 40m or above, the assessment should extend to significant assets within a radius of 5km of the nearest boundary of the site. For schemes of greater than 100 metre total height the 5km distance may be extended. Cultural assets may include Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, archaeological assets, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, parks and public gardens, recreation areas, cemeteries and any other nearby assets which could potentially suffer harm due to the presence of wind turbines.
A statement should be included with the application to demonstrate how the proposed scheme fits into the current national, regional and local planning policy context.
Photomontages and Wireframe Diagrams
The Council will expect all wind turbine applications to be accompanied by a representative range of photomontages and/or wireframe diagrams to demonstrate how the proposed turbine(s), ancillary equipment and access roads will fit into the landscape. Photomontages and wireframe diagrams should be created by a suitably qualified person or organisation.
Locations for photomontage and wireframe diagram viewpoints should be agreed with the Council at the pre-submission stage.
Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) Maps
Unless the application is for a single turbine with a height of 25m or less (which is not within 1km of any other operational or permitted turbines, or turbines currently subject to a planning application), the Council will expect applications to be accompanied by two Ordnance Survey based maps showing the ZTV of the proposed turbine(s):
- The first of the maps should show the ZTV of the proposed turbine(s) only.
- The second map should show the cumulative ZTV of the proposed turbine(s) along with any other operational and permitted turbines (and those currently subject to a planning application).
Applicants should contact the Council to obtain an up to date list of such turbines.
The radius of the ZTV maps required depends on the proposed height of the turbine(s) in the application and other factors. In addition, any recognised long distance recreational routes or recreational routes of local significance (e.g. The Calderdale Way, The Pennine Way, etc) should be plotted on the ZTV maps. If the ZTV maps indicate that the proposed turbine(s) will be visible from along such recreational routes, the applicant will be expected to provide photomontages showing the predicted view of the turbine(s) from points along the route. This may include an assessment of sequential visibility. The exact location of such photomontage viewpoints should be agreed with the Council at the pre-submission stage.
Public Rights of Way
The Council will expect a plan to be submitted which identifies all Public Rights of Way within a radius of 10 times turbine height from the centre of the turbine. The impact on locally and sub-regionally significant or recreational routes or long distance trails should be fully addressed where the turbine(s) will be located within 1km of such a route. Such routes could include the Pennine Bridleway, the Pennine Way and the Calderdale Way, etc. Other routes exist however, and applicants are advised to contact the Council’s Public Rights of Way team (Tel No 01422 288002) for clarification where they are unsure if such a route exists in proximity to the proposed turbine(s).
The Council will expect a clear methodology to be followed – a preliminary desk-based assessment should be carried out to determine whether or not there is a need for further more detailed ecological investigation. The desk-based assessment should include information on nearby locally or nationally designated ecology or bio-diversity assets, protected species and habitats, and should demonstrate how the proposed wind turbine(s) will avoid causing harm.
Where the desk-based exercise concludes that further ecological investigation is required, the Council will require clear evidence of an ecological survey by a suitably qualified and experienced person or organisation, which addresses the site-specific issues identified and provides clear recommendations. To avoid doubt and clarify the requirements for individual proposals, applicants are recommended to contact the Council at pre-application stage.
- For sites within 1 km of the South Pennine Moors Special Protection Area and any other sites with records of notable bird species the following guidance applies: Bird Risk Maps and Guidance|
- For sites close to bat roosts or foraging habitats the following guidance applies, visit: Bats and Wind Turbines|
Socio-Economic Benefits Statement
Applicants for wind energy developments with a total generating capacity of 250kW or above should indicate how consideration has been given to offsetting the impact of the development on the local community.
Best practice guidance exists for applicants on community benefits, published by Renewable UK in its Community Benefit Protocol|.
Telecommunications and Radar Statement
The Council will consult the Ministry of Defence (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) on wind turbine applications. As such, there is no requirement for applicants to consult with these two bodies prior to submission of an application.
However, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that the proposed turbine(s) will not cause any interference to the operation of any communications or broadcast equipment, through consultation with the operators of any masts or antennae which may be subject to adverse effects from the proposed turbine(s). Consultation responses from any such individuals or organisations should be submitted to the Council alongside the planning application. Applicants should also demonstrate that any possible effects on telecommunications equipment, including television reception, have been considered and if necessary mitigation measures taken.