Can seeking planning permission be fun? Can you crowdsource a planning application? Here’s hoping. We’re doing a DIY planning application for the renewables prototype. Now we’re inviting photographs of the prototype wind array with comments and offering award-winning and world beating local organic cheeses for the best half dozen.
Kelston Roundhill prototype wind array just after installation
The planning application requires a “landscape visual impact assessment”. We’ve commissioned the essential photos to meet their initial requirement. But they often ask for more, and we’d like to provide as wide a range as possible, with variety and feedback
Please email in any photos of the wind array from wherever its visible, including from Keynsham, Saltford and further afield.
Prizes for the best photo, the most distant (will require metadata), the most dramatic and for the best accompanying comments. Judges decision final. This is not a promotion, no cash alternative etc etc. Details here. Provisional deadline 14 Feb.
More background on the planning position below.
For those not familiar planning is a technical matter; it’s governed by national laws, local policies and practice. Officers (professionals long steeped in all this) make a formal appraisal of an application, and a recommendation as to whether it is approved or not. If it’s straightforward that’s the end of the matter. If something is contentious or significant (think new Bath Rugby stadium and massive car park on city centre land gifted on condition it not be built on, or Bath City FC’s redevelopment of Twerton Park and regeneration of Twerton) the final decision generally then goes to a committee of up to a dozen elected councillors. Councillors are by and large overworked volunteers but they’re willing, endowed with enough political nous to win election and absolutely key to the process of evolving local practice.
Although our prototype wind array is smaller than some items of farming equipment it requires full formal planning permission. Once we’ve submitted that we have to hope it goes to full committe (even with the distinct risk of a negative recommendation from officers, whose verdict is based on current practice).
England protects its beautiful landscapes and vulnerable species by law. It would be counterproductive if climate zealots wrecked the landscape with unregulated eco-developments. That said, you’d think the existing national planning policy on renewables had been written by Exxon or OPEC. Parliament and B&NES council have declared climate emergency. We have to trial new cost-effective technologies; not just massive high-tech installations but cost-effective local, low-impact too. Something has to give.
Prototype wind array: barely visible from Kelston Clump at the top of Roundhill field