The Scoping Report – what does it cover?

As we touched on in a previous post, a Scoping Report gets submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. In the words of the developer:

This will present the development proposals and will describe how we will assess any potential impacts to the existing environment. The feedback that Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd receives on this document from the local planning authorities and statutory consultees will result in a Scoping Opinion from PINS, which will be made publicly available.

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 19.09.45The Scoping Report was submitted by Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd to the Secretary of State on 11 December 2017. It’s 109 pages long and full of a huge amount of information. A PDF of the Scoping Report is available from the Planning Inspectorate’s dedicated website.

To tempt you into reading it in all its glory we’re reproducing just the Contents here to illustrate the depth of coverage. You are all experts or passionate in one way or another and there’s guaranteed to be something in here that affects everyone.

1 INTRODUCTION

1 1.1 Background

1.2 The Applicant…………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

1.3 Consenting Regime ……………………………………………………………………………. 1

1.4 Purpose of the Scoping Report…………………………………………………………….. 2

2 PROJECT DESCRIPTION ……………………………………………………………………………….. 3

2.1 The Development Site ………………………………………………………………………… 3

2.2 Iterative Design and Rochdale Envelope ………………………………………………. 3

2.3 The Development Proposal …………………………………………………………………. 4
2.3.1 Solar PV Modules ……………………………………………………………………………………… 4
2.3.2 Module Mounting Structures………………………………………………………………………… 5
2.3.3 Inverters…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
2.3.4 Transformers …………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
2.3.5 Onsite Cabling………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
2.3.6 Fencing and Security Measures ……………………………………………………………………. 8
2.3.7 Access Tracks ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9
2.3.8 Energy Storage Facility ………………………………………………………………………………. 9
2.3.9 Development Substation and Control Building …………………………………………………. 9
2.3.10 Electricity Export Connection to National Grid………………………………………………….. 9

2.4 Construction ……………………………………………………………………………………… 9
2.4.1 Construction Traffic Management……………………………………………………………….. 10
2.4.2 Temporary Construction Compounds …………………………………………………………… 10
2.4.3 Temporary Roadways ………………………………………………………………………………. 10
2.4.4 Site Reinstatement and Habitat Creation………………………………………………………. 10

2.5 Operation…………………………………………………………………………………………10

2.6 Decommissioning …………………………………………………………………………….. 10

3 THE LEGISLATIVE AND PLANNING FRAMEWORK…………………………………………… 11

3.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….11

3.2 National Policy Statements ………………………………………………………………..11
3.2.1 Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) ………………………………… 11
3.2.2 National Policy Statement on Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3) ……………….. 12
3.2.3 National Planning Policy Statement for Electricity Networks (EN-5)…………………….. 13

3.3 National Planning Policy Framework ………………………………………………….. 13

3.4 Development Plan – Bearing Fruits 2031: The Swale Borough Local Plan…14

3.5 Other Relevant Material Planning Considerations …………………………………17

4 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT………………………………………………………. 19

4.1 EIA Process and Methodology…………………………………………………………….19
4.1.1 Baseline Description ………………………………………………………………………………… 19
4.1.2 Prediction of Likely Effects ………………………………………………………………………… 20
4.1.3 Assessment of Likely Effects ……………………………………………………………………… 20
4.1.4 Mitigation ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
4.1.5 Residual Effects………………………………………………………………………………………. 21
4.1.6 Cumulative Effect Assessment……………………………………………………………………. 21

4.2 Site Selection and Consideration of Alternatives …………………………………..22

4.3 Structure of the Environmental Statement …………………………………………..22

5 LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT……………………………………………. 24

5.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….24

5.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….24
5.2.1 National Landscape Character ……………………………………………………………………. 24
5.2.2 Regional Landscape Character …………………………………………………………………… 25
5.2.3 Local Landscape Character………………………………………………………………………… 25
5.2.4 Landscape Planning Designations ……………………………………………………………….. 26
5.2.5 Local Landscape Designations ……………………………………………………………………. 26
5.2.6 Undesignated Landscapes…………………………………………………………………………. 27
5.2.7 Visual Amenity ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 27

5.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………27

5.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..28
5.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 28
5.4.2 Proposed Surveys/Site Visits ……………………………………………………………………… 29
5.4.3 Zone of Theoretical Visibility ……………………………………………………………………… 30
5.4.4 Baseline………………………………………………………………………………………………… 31
5.4.5 General Approach……………………………………………………………………………………. 31
5.4.6 Assessment of Sensitivity………………………………………………………………………….. 32
5.4.7 Assessment of Magnitude of Change …………………………………………………………… 34
5.4.8 Significance of Effects………………………………………………………………………………. 35
5.4.9 Viewpoints and Visualisations…………………………………………………………………….. 37

5.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 39

6 ECOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………………………………..40

6.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….40

6.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….40
6.2.1 Designated Sites …………………………………………………………………………………….. 40
6.2.2 Surveys/Site Visit Findings ………………………………………………………………………… 41

6.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………44

6.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..45
6.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 45
6.4.2 Proposed Desk-based Assessment………………………………………………………………. 46
6.4.3 General Approach……………………………………………………………………………………. 46
6.4.4 Determining Value…………………………………………………………………………………… 46
6.4.5 Identifying Effects and Determining Magnitude ……………………………………………… 47
6.4.6 Determining Significance ………………………………………………………………………….. 48

6.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 48

7 ORNITHOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………………………..49

7.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….49

7.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….49
7.2.1 Desk Based Assessment……………………………………………………………………………. 49
7.2.2 Baseline Surveys …………………………………………………………………………………….. 49

7.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………50

7.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..51
7.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 51
7.4.2 Survey Methodology ………………………………………………………………………………… 51

7.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 55

8 HYDROLOGY, HYDROGEOLOGY, FLOOD RISK AND GROUND CONDITIONS ……….56

8.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….56

8.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….56

8.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………57

8.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..57
8.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 57
8.4.2 Proposed Desk Based Assessment………………………………………………………………. 58
|8.4.3 Proposed Surveys/Site Visits ……………………………………………………………………… 58
8.4.4 EIA Methodology…………………………………………………………………………………….. 58
8.4.5 Significance Criteria …………………………………………………………………………………. 61
8.4.6 Flood Risk Assessment Methodology……………………………………………………………. 62

8.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 62

9 CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY …………………………………………………… 63

9.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….63

9.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….63
9.2.1 Desk Based Assessment……………………………………………………………………………. 63

9.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………64

9.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..65
9.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 65
9.4.2 Proposed Surveys/Site Visits ……………………………………………………………………… 65
9.4.3 EIA Approach…………………………………………………………………………………………. 65
9.4.4 Assessment of Effects Methodology …………………………………………………………….. 66
9.4.5 Significance Criteria …………………………………………………………………………………. 66

9.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 68

10 NOISE AND VIBRATION ……………………………………………………………………………… 70
10.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….70
10.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….70
10.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………70
10.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..70
10.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 70
10.4.2 Proposed Desk Based Assessment………………………………………………………………. 71
10.4.3 Proposed Surveys/Site Visits ……………………………………………………………………… 72
10.4.4 Assessment of Construction Noise ………………………………………………………………. 72
10.4.5 Assessment of Operational Noise………………………………………………………………… 72
10.4.6 Assessment of Decommissioning Noise ………………………………………………………… 73
10.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ……………………………………………………… 73

11 SOCIO-ECONOMICS, TOURISM, RECREATION AND LAND-USE ………………………… 74
11.1 Socio-economics and Tourism…………………………………………………………….74
11.1.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 74
11.1.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions ………………………………………………………………….. 74
11.1.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………………. 76
11.1.4 Assessment Methodology………………………………………………………………………….. 78
11.1.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ………………………………………………………………. 80

11.2 Recreation ……………………………………………………………………………………….80
11.2.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 80
11.2.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions ………………………………………………………………….. 80
11.2.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………………. 81
11.2.4 Assessment Methodology………………………………………………………………………….. 81
11.2.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ………………………………………………………………. 81

11.3 Land-use………………………………………………………………………………………….81
11.3.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 81
11.3.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions ………………………………………………………………….. 82
11.3.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………………. 82
11.3.4 Assessment Methodology………………………………………………………………………….. 82
11.3.5 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ………………………………………………………………. 82

12 ACCESS AND TRAFFIC ………………………………………………………………………………… 83
12.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….83
12.2 Preliminary Baseline Conditions………………………………………………………….83
12.3 Likely Environmental Effects………………………………………………………………83
12.4 Assessment Methodology…………………………………………………………………..84
12.4.1 Relevant Legislation and Guidelines …………………………………………………………….. 84
12.4.2 Proposed Desk Based Assessment………………………………………………………………. 84
12.4.3 Proposed Surveys/Site Visits ……………………………………………………………………… 84
12.4.4 EIA Methodology…………………………………………………………………………………….. 84
12.4.5 Construction Traffic Management Plan…………………………………………………………. 85
12.4.6 Assessment of Cumulative Effects ………………………………………………………………. 85

13 MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES……………………………………………………………………………. 87
13.1 Glint and Glare ………………………………………………………………………………… 87
13.1.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 87
13.1.2 Preliminary Environmental Effects ………………………………………………………………. 87
13.1.3 Assessment Methodology………………………………………………………………………….. 87
13.2 Human Health………………………………………………………………………………….. 88
13.2.1 Electric, Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields………………………………………………… 88
13.3 Telecommunications, Television Reception and Utilities ……………………….. 89
13.4 Waste………………………………………………………………………………………………89
13.5 Air Quality………………………………………………………………………………………..90

14 CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT

15 INTERACTION AND ACCUMULATION OF EFFECTS

APPENDIX A: FIGURES
Figure 1 Site Location
Figure 2 Proposed Development Layout
Figure 5.1 Landscape Character
Figure 5.2 Landscape Designations
Figure 6 Ecology and Ornithology Designations
Figure 8 Flood Risk Maps
Figure 9 Cultural Heritage Features
Figure 12 Site Access Route

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