A range of specialist consultants have completed surveys which have been submitted with the planning application, to aid in the design process and to ensure the site is appropriate for development.
Landscape and Visual – A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has assessed the potential impact of the development upon the character and appearance of the landscape and has informed a scheme of mitigation planting. As it matures, this along with the retained vegetation will screen the solar farm and will reduce its visual impact. The overall harm that would result from the proposed development to the character and appearance of the landscape would be limited and would be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal.
Ecology – An Ecological Impact Assessment has been submitted in support of the application. Through mitigation and compensation strategies all Great Crested Newts will be removed from the working area within the site. Biodiversity enhancements including new, more valuable habitats and pond creation are included within the proposals, these measures will ensure that there will be no loss of functionality for GCN post development and will ensure no significant long-term impacts on the GCN population at the Site, Local or County level.
Heritage and Archaeology – The proposed development would have no harmful impact upon the settings of designated heritage assets. Archaeological investigations by means of a gradiometer survey and targeted trenching have also been undertaken in support of the proposed development. These investigations will inform a scheme of mitigation which will ensure that the construction of the development will not harm archaeological remains.
Hydrology – A Flood Risk Assessment has been submitted with the application. The majority of the northern site lies within Flood Zone 1, however a small area to the south and south-eastern boundaries lies within Flood Zones 2 and 3, which have a higher risk of flooding. However, no electrical infrastructure is proposed within these areas. The location of the substation within the Southern Site, also lies within Flood Zone 1. The proposed solar farm will not increase the risk of flooding on or off the site. Surface water runoff will be attenuated within the site.
Glint and Glare – A through survey has been conducted to determine if the effects of glint and glare will impact any nearby receptors and appropriate mitigations to be in place if so. The report concluded that, with the mitigation proposed, new hedgerow and woodland planting, the effect of glint and glare on receptors would not be significant. The proposed solar farm would not result in glint and glare that would result in a nuisance or a danger to highway or aviation safety.
Arboriculture – The layout of the proposed development has been informed by an Arboriculture Impact Assessment, and the PV panels and infrastructure have been sited so as to avoid damaging Root Protection Zones of the mature trees within the site. Trees and hedgerows will be retained and enhanced for their ecological value but also to provide screening of the proposed development.