Renewable Energy Planning

Renewable energy can be classified by many different processes, from wind turbines to waste processing, and recycling centres to anaerobic digestion plants. Renewable Energy Planning has become a major part of the Highway Engineers Role.

The recently published National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF March 2012) contains advice on how Local Planning Authorities can assist in the development of renewable energy projects and states that such Authorities should “consider identifying suitable sites for renewable and low carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure the development of such sources.”

Planning Authorities are encouraged to approve such applications, unless material considerations indicate otherwise, if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable. One such material consideration would be the access and transportation issues associated with the development.

NPPF March 2012 contains specific advice on promoting sustainable transport and states that

“…..Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe.”

Sanderson Associates have extensive experience in the assessment of the highway issues related to renewable energy projects and have worked on schemes which fall under the following headings:-

Bio-Mass installations

Sanderson Associates provided highway consultancy services in support of a planning application for a Mechanical, Biological Treatment waste management facility in South Wales. We always work closely with the developers, the Local Highway Authority and on this occasion the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that the highway input into the planning application assisted in planning consent being granted.

Waste Transfer Stations & Recycling Depots

Sanderson Associates have provided advice to Waste Agencies in the North-East in relation to proposals to provide an expansion of an existing operational Waste Transfer Station and also a new site which together will cover the Sunderland area. Both sites will incorporate extensive recycling facilities and have now been given planning permission. Other sites that have been considered include sites in North Wales and various sites in West Yorkshire.

Wind Farm installations

Sanderson Associates have previously provided advice to potential developers of various turbine sites in West Yorkshire and the rest of England. Advice has also been provided regarding the movement of the components to the site and swept path analysis of the access junction with the adopted highway and the strength and consideration of any weight restrictions of bridge structures as well as advice on Local Authority and Police abnormal routes in location and procedures.

Mining Quarrying and Landfill

Most recently, Sanderson Associates completed the highways section of an Environmental Impact Assessment for a major landfill site in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Our work involved the assessment of the additional traffic on the highway network and its impact on key receptors and locations. In the past, Sanderson’s have assisted and given evidence at Public Inquiries, EIA submissions and the impact for many sites in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Wales, Scotland, Cheshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Renewable energy developments are likely to encounter similar issues during the planning process as many other types of development and will be subject to the same considerations in highway terms.

However, by their very nature, they may also require specialist consideration with regards to the generation of HGV movements on the highway network and the physical transportation of large machinery, equipment and installations to the site from the point of manufacture.

Route choice, highway conditions, carriageway widths, gradients, junctions etc. will all require expert assessment and advice on any issues which may require mitigation and/or off-site works to overcome the problems identified.

The recommended process begins at site selection stage when access to the site itself from the nearest principal highway should be considered as part of a Feasibility Study.

Assessment of available Abnormal Load Routes within the immediate area of the site will also be required. At this stage the source of the actual installation and/or supporting equipment needs to be known to enable the full route to be assessed.

Many manufacturers of specialist equipment and haulage companies will, however, have designated routes from their base locations to the nearest principal roads and motorways which are likely to have been agreed with the appropriate authorities in their particular area.

Once it has been established that the site is accessible and that all other planning and development criteria can be met the planning process begins in earnest.

Whilst it may not be necessary to provide a traditional Transport Assessment for such a development, in that significant volumes of traffic are not generated, a detailed site specific Access Appraisal will be required which will provide all the information required by the Local Planning and Highway Authority to consider the submission and make their formal decision as the acceptability of the development proposals.

Due to the on-going vehicle trips associated with Waste Transfer Stations and other recycling facilities these types of development are likely to require a detailed Transport Assessment as well as the possible requirement for an Environmental Statement which will have a Chapter dedicated to transport and access issues. Further information on this specific element can be found at our web-site www.transport-assessment.com

Require Assistance with a Renewable Energy Planning?

Sanderson Associates have extensive experience in providing for a wide variety of Feasibility Studies and Access Appraisals for major and minor developments associated with many varied development projects including the renewable energy market.

We would welcome the opportunity to provide you with a competitive fee proposal.  Simply call Sanderson Associates on 01924 844080 and ask to speak to a member of our Transportation Team or click here to complete our secure online form. Please provide as much development information as possible to ensure a comprehensive proposal can be provided.

Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Planning, Planning, Highway Matters, Bio-Mass InstallationsWaste Transfer Stations, Recycling DepotsWind Farm installations, Mining, Quarrying, Landfill