Councillors have given the go-ahead for a solar park to the north east of Blackawton. South Hams District Council’s Development Management Committee considered the application for the solar farm, which would cover just over 3 hectares of land, with the whole site covering 8 hectares to the north east of Blackawton near Strete Road.
Councillors debated a range of matters before approving the application with conditions. Members considered the provisions of landscaping and screening by vegetation, the continuing agricultural use of land as sheep could graze underneath the panels and the need for farmers to adapt in changing economic climates.
The Government has committed the UK to achieving at least 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The planning system plays an important role in delivering this target and Local Planning Authorities play a positive part in bringing renewable energy development forward.
As a Planning Authority, South Hams contributes to the national drive to increase this renewable energy generation. Maximising renewable and low carbon energy developments whilst making sure that any adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily, as Cllr Robert Steer, Chairman of the Development Management Committee, adds: “We take every solar farm on its own merits, taking into account cumulative effect and how it will impact on the character of the surrounding areas for residents and visitors.”
“The committee granted permission for the solar farm as the proposed plans offer sustainable energy benefits for our local area and the impact on the local landscape would be mitigated by the proposed landscaping and ecological management strategy.”