Landscape and visual impact assessment prepared for the development of a small solar park in Somerset.
The field in question was a grass ley sown with a diverse wildflower mix and located in open countryside. Locally there was an active quarry, but the landscape was generally agricultural land in the heart of Somerset. Currently, within the research area, there are no solar parks that have been developed or are authorised that might have negative cumulative effects.
Our client aimed to make significance use of the site with a ‘tri’ purpose approach, encompassing the production of solar energy with continued agricultural use and enhanced biodiversity. Due to the combined screening effects of a well-established hedgerow structure and the local topography, the proposed development would have very little effect on local visual receptors. Our work was to help demonstrate the minimal effect of the proposed development, encourage the delivery of significant vegetation and biodiversity enhancement, and support the application through planning to provide a new sustainable and renewable energy source without compromising or reducing the availability of agricultural land.