Construction Considerations, End-of-Life, and Site Restoration

Construction methods should minimise disruption to land e.g. intrusive groundworks, such as trenching and foundations, should be minimised and the use of concrete avoided where possible and should be detailed through a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP). On agricultural land, frames should be pile driven or screw anchored and not concrete-based, and capable of easy removal, allowing the ground to be fully restored. The reduction of carbon heavy materials such as concrete will also complement the creation of a net zero development (see Principle 1- Net zero development). An outline restoration plan should be identified at the earliest stage of planning for the timely restoration of the land at the end of its operational life as a solar farm. Solar farms are temporary developments and should be capable of removal and reversible i.e. at the end of the life of the development, the land can be return to its pre-development use [21]. After the use of the site as a solar photovoltaic farm, land should be restored to its previous state including removal of all panels, supporting infrastructure and other temporary structures onsite. However, it is important that any benefits created are maintained, this includes any gain in biodiversity, habitat creation, green infrastructure assets, sustainable drainage features, improvement in land and soil quality, etc. Applicants should also show provision for the restoration of the site at the end of operation, for example, by providing a financial bond which they would pay into during the life of the solar farm.

[21] MHCLG (2015) Planning practice guidance for renewable and low carbon energy

Page updated: 27/06/2022

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