Solar Power: Surveying

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero written question – answered at on 22 May 2024.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of amending the trial trenching requirements for ground-mounted solar projects (a) to delay trial trenching until after consent has been granted and (b) in other ways.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

Planning guidance on assessing potential impacts of large-scale solar projects on the historic environment is set out in the recently published Energy National Policy Statements. In most cases, applicants are required to seek expert assessment. Where assessments include investigative work, such as trial trenching, this should be proportionate.

Conducting this work during the pre-application planning phase enables developers to take into account findings and, if necessary, mitigate impacts by adapting project design at an early stage. It provides a robust evidence base to support decision making, helping to avoid delays after applications have been submitted or post consent.

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