CONSULTATION ON MATTERS ARISING CHANGES (MACs) TO POWYS LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (LDP) – RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY
Your overwhelming public response to the Renewable Energy Policy published as part of the Further Focussed Changes to the LDP resulted in a new revised Renewable Energy Assessment in which Wind Local Search areas were dropped and a Landscape Sensitivity Assessment of the proposed Solar LSAs was commissioned, resulting in withdrawal of 13 of the 33 Solar LSAs.
These were very important and welcome changes. However Powys accepted few of the additional changes put forward during the Inspector’s Hearing Sessions. Many people were unhappy about the impacts of remaining solar LSAs and potential siting of renewable energy projects of up to 25 MW (wind) and 50 MW (solar) outside Strategic Search Areas for wind or Local Search Areas for solar. CPRW commissioned a landscape study which concluded that many of the remaining 20 solar LSAs had HIGH or MEDIUM HIGH sensitivity to solar development. Other proposals from CPRW, including policy to protect tourism and better regulate intensive livestock farming and anaerobic digesters have had mixed success.
Please respond to the Matters Arising Changes and help get better policies for our future.
1. Where to find the Matters Arising Changes (MACs)
Website link: www.powys.gov.uk/en/planning-building-control/local-development-plan/ldp-stages/
Select tab ‘2017 – Schedule of Matters Arising Changes to the LDP – (Open until 5pm 30/10/17)’ It is worth scrolling down to FAQs on the MACs consultation for further information.
The documents we may comment on are under the heading ‘Consultation Documents’ on the link above. These and other useful LDP documents which provide the evidence base for the MACs are also on the Examination Document website page. (All documents prefixed ED0 are found on this page.)
The Matters Arising Changes to the written LDP (here) and Maps of Powys LSAs (here) are set out, on their own, in numbered lists but they can also be read in context in the composite versions (here & here).
For Renewable Energy changes see:
The Written Statement
ED083b Schedule of Matters Arising Changes – Written Statement (September 2017) (here)
- Changes to renewable energy policy: MAC123 on page 81
- Changes to the explanatory text, tables etc. MAC124 on page 84
The Proposal Maps
ED038c Schedule of Matters Arising Changes – Proposals and Inset Maps
To understand these it will help to look at ED079 The Solar LSAs Constraints Map and Explanation (here & here), and the overall map of Powys in the ED083h LDP Proposals and Inset Maps: Composite Version: 1. Cover Key & Key diagram: p4 (here).
CPRW thinks it so difficult to find locations and precise boundaries of LSAs that we have produced a help sheet…
2. How to Comment on the Matters Arising Changes of the Powys Local Development Plan
5:00pm Monday 30th October 2017 is the deadline for submission of comments on the MACs.
Late submissions won’t be accepted. All submissions will be published. If you have already commented on the LDP you will have a representor number which you should quote in your new submission.
Send your comments:
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post to The LDP Team, Planning Policy, Powys County Council, The Gwalia, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 6AA
You must use the ‘Matters Arising Changes Representation Form’. (Available here.)
Separate forms must be submitted for each MAC commented upon.
Sections 1 and 2 are for personal information. Section 3 is for your comments.
The Inspector will only accept comments on the published MACs and not on earlier versions of the LDP but your arguments may refer to the most up to date versions of evidence on which the MACs are based.
In Section 3c of the response form you must explain why you think the MAC fails the “soundness tests”.
Soundness tests: (for more detail see text box below)
Section 3b of the form asks you to stay whether you think the MAC fails one or more tests of soundness. The Inspector is only interested in what changes must be made to make the LDP sound.
- Test 1: Does the plan fit? After the changes proposed in the MAC, is renewable energy policy consistent with other legislation and regulations i.e.:
- European legislation protecting aspects of the environment including designated sites;
- UK legislation applying to Wales;
- Welsh legislation such as Planning Policy Wales, the Environment Act (Wales) and Well Being of Future Generations Act;
- Other sections of the LDP.
- Test 2: Is the plan appropriate? Are the proposals based on sound and credible evidence? Are they appropriate for Powys? Is the plan logical and clear? Have real alternatives been properly considered?
- Test 3: Will the plan deliver? Is it realistic? Will the plan actually work to achieve the LDP objectives?
3. Where we are now?
At the Hearings it was often difficult to prepare our evidence and participate effectively because PCC was making radical policy changes throughout. We did not know what the revised energy policy would be until most other policies had been dealt with. We had no opportunity to discuss the individual LSAs.
- Powys is already contributing its fair share of wind energy from Strategic Search Areas (SSAs);
- The Welsh Government said LSAs carry a presumption in favour of development. PCC says they don’t;
- Tan 8 allows LPAs to restrict wind energy over 5MW to SSAs but PCC chooses not to;
- Solar up to 50MW and wind up to 25MW can be permitted outside LSAs and SSAs;
- Solar LSAs still contain sensitive landscapes and open access and common land;
- CPRW’s expert landscape report was ignored;
- Much of the advice PCC sought from CPRW’s barrister on policy wording has been ignored;
- LDP evidence did not consider alternative approaches to renewable generation or energy savings.
This LDP does not have the right balance between renewable energy generation and protection of our outstanding landscapes, biodiversity, tourism industry and quality of life for Powys residents.
The LSA Table
We have produced this table to help you identify the LSAs, look at their detail and overcome the problems with the PCC documents described below.
- The solar LSAs are not named and the location and boundaries are indistinct on MACS Proposal Maps (E083c2) (here);
- There is a plan of how the Proposal maps are arranged on p4 of the Composite Map Key (ED083h1) (here);
- LSAs are best shown in the Constraints document (ED079) but they are numbered and not named (here);
- The names are usefully matched to numbers in ED060 Enplan’s Landscape Sensitivity study which also contains a map of all the original solar LSAs (here);
- The landscape assessment by Michelle Bolger for CPRW is in Appendix 1 of CPRW’s statement for Hearing Session 15A – pages 35 onwards (here);
- The numbers have been replaced by letters in the MACs and the composite Written Statement
- You must refer to solar LSAs by these letters – shown in the table above.
NOTES ON SOUNDNESS TESTS – FROM LDP MANUAL 2015
Test 1: Does the plan fit?¹ (i.e. is it clear that the LDP is consistent with other plans?)
- Does it have regard to national policy and WSP?
- Does it have regard to Well-being Goals?
- Does it have regard the Welsh National Marine Plan?
- Is it consistent with regional plans, strategies and utility programmes?
- Is it compatible with the plans of neighbouring authorities?
- Does it reflect the Single Integrated Plan (SIP) or the National Park Management Plan (NPMP)?
Test 2: Is the plan appropriate? (i.e. is the plan appropriate for the area in the light of the evidence?)
- Is it locally specific?
- Does it address the key issues?
- Is it supported by robust, proportionate and credible evidence?
- Can the rationale behind plan policies be demonstrated?
- Does it seek to meet assessed needs and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development?²
- Are the vision and the strategy positive and sufficiently aspirational?
- Have the ‘real’ alternatives been properly considered?
- Is it logical, reasonable and balanced?
- Is it coherent and consistent?
- Is it clear and focused?
Test 3: Will the plan deliver (i.e. is it likely to be effective?)
- Will it be effective?
- Can it be implemented?
- Is there support from the relevant infrastructure providers both financially and in terms of meeting relevant timescales?
- Will development be viable?
- Can the sites allocated be delivered?
- Is the plan sufficiently flexible? Are there appropriate contingency provisions?
- Is it monitored effectively?’
- The Environment Act (Wales) imposed a duty on local authorities to protect ecosystems:
“…a public authority must take account of the resilience of ecosystems, in particular the following aspects—
(a) diversity between and within ecosystems;
(b) the connections between and within ecosystems;
(c) the scale of ecosystems;
(d) the condition of ecosystems (including their structure and functioning);
(e) the adaptability of ecosystems.”
- ‘Sustainable development’ is defined in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. At its heart is ensuring that “the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” and the Act sets out that public bodies must take account of “the importance of balancing short term needs with the need to safeguard the ability to meet long term needs, especially where things done to meet short term needs may have detrimental long term effect.”