Wind farm in green landscape

Identifying ‘suitable areas’ for large-scale renewable energy in England

In this White Paper, Associate Landscape Planner Ed White discusses the responsibility local authorities have to identify the most suitable locations for renewable energy development.

The economic drivers for commercial developers and the environmental drivers for local authorities to reach carbon neutrality point to the growth of large-scale renewable energy development. Ed considers how traditional approaches to assessing landscape sensitivity no longer apply, as all landscapes will inevitably be changed by the scale of renewable energy development being proposed. He suggests the approach to Landscape Sensitivity Assessment (LSA) needs to be adapted to reflect this.

The paper sets out an approach for helping local authorities identify suitable areas, and also identifies the additional benefits larger-scale renewable energy developments may bring, such as nature recovery, reversing biodiversity loss, and achieving Biodiversity Net Gain.

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