Dorset CPRE have just published their letter asking for the Rampisham Down Solar Factory planning permission to be called in for determination by the Secretary of State.
I am republishing it here. They make an extremely interesting point.
There have been a flurry of recent applications for Ground Mounted Solar Factories to be built in Dorset. West Dorset considered two recently:
One was not in the AONB and not on an SSSI: Natural England did not object, but the Planning Officer recommended refusal and the Committee agreed to delegate the decision to the planning officer. It was duly refused.
One was in the AONB but not on an SSSI: Natural England objected on landscape grounds, the Planning Officer recommended refusal and the Committee agreed to delegate the decision to the planning officer. It was duly refused. One of the reasons why this application (from British Solar Renewables) was rejected, was the loss of skylark plots.
So why on earth would the Committee decide to approve one which was on an SSSI and in an AONB; which Natural England objected to on nature and landscape grounds; and which the Planning Officer strongly recommended refusal? Why did the committee not delegate the decision the the planning officer in this case?
Here is the full CPRE letter.