Guidance Note for the Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Generation in North Somerset Supplementary Planning Document

Document Section Guidance Note The Planning Application The Planning Application [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 1020673//1
Respondent Environment Agency [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 17 Jul 2013
Current Status Accepted

Flood Risk

Due to the size of solar parks, the applicant will be expected to submit a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) with any planning application submission, giving consideration to the impact of drainage.

Any concentration of run-off could lead to localised flood risk, especially where under-lying soils are not naturally free draining. To overcome this, SUDS drainage techniques should be adopted, such as small swales and infiltration trenches. To avoid the concentration of flows along their length, these should not necessarily be linked through the site but can be a series of shorter features.

Where sites are located within Flood Zone 2 or 3, classified as having a medium or high probability of flooding, then the FRA produced should also include the following:

·         Compensatory flood storage should be provided for any loss of fluvial floodplain volume.

·         Floor levels of any buildings and electrical controls should be raised above the flood level and other infrastructure should be made resilient to flooding.

·         A detailed proposal for how surface water run-off will be stored and disposed of in a sustainable way must be included.  This should prevent any increase in surface water flow (up to and including the 1 in 100 year plus climate change storm) from leaving the site or causing localised flooding on site. Due to the large size of these developments, we would expect to see calculations and a drainage layout proposal. 

·         Evidence that the Sequential Test has been passed by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) is required.

Access tracks

Where access tracks need to be provided, permeable tracks should be used, and localised SUDS should be used to control any run-off.

Landscape/Visual impact or Ecology

Given the temporary nature of these developments, solar park sites should be configured or selected to avoid the need to impact on existing drainage systems and watercourses. Access should avoid the need to culvert existing watercourses. Where culverting is required, it should be demonstrated that no reasonable alternatives exist, and where possible this should only be temporary for the construction period.

There is the potential for solar farms to act as an "ecological trap" for certain types of insect that are attracted to polarised light.  This is an area that has been researched with particular reference to aquatic insects. Therefore it is recommended that ponds are placed strategically around the site.

Environment Management

During construction the following comments apply:

The developer should ensure that the guidance in the Environment Agency: Pollution Prevention Guidelines 6: Working at construction and demolition sites (PPG 6) and Pollution Prevention Guidelines 5: Works and maintenance in and near water (PPG 5) is followed.

Where possible, waste washings from any concrete should be discharge into the foul sewer, with the agreement of Wessex Water. If not, the developer should ensure compliance with the Environment Agency Regulatory Position Statement 107: Managing concrete wash waters on construction sites: good practise and temporary discharges to ground and surface waters.

Any waste generated must be disposed of in accordance with Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

If waste material is brought onto site for construction purposes, the developer should ensure that appropriate permits are held according to Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

CL: AIRE sites must be identified and declared prior to construction and all protocols followed, if not Environmental Permits will apply.

Oil or chemical storage facilities should be sited in bunded areas. The capacity of the bund should be at least 10% greater than the capacity of the storage tank or, if more than one tank is involved, the capacity of the largest tank within the bunded area. Hydraulically inter-linked tanks should be regarded as a single tank. There should be no working connections outside the bunded area.  

During construction, measures should be in place to ensure that in the event of an incident any spills/accidents shall be safely dealt with.

For any vehicles that leave the site, measures should be incorporated to ensure that soil deposits are not deposited on the road.


If there is a risk of previous land uses causing contamination then a contaminated land survey should be undertaken. Initially this will involve a desk study, if this shows that contamination is possibly then trial pits and ultimately remediation should be detailed.