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Stricter rules for solar developments

Developers wanting to set up solar farms on North Somerset green belt land are likely to fail after new strict criteria was adopted by the local authority, Weston & Somerset Mercury has reported.

North Somerset Council has approved a new supplementary planning document after receiving a high number of applications for freestanding solar facilities on land in the district.

It does not apply to domestic installations as they are allowed under permitted development rules, but will be used when considering non-domestic solar photovoltaic arrays.

Among its details, the document says any application in the green belt will almost certainly be refused, it emphasises a preference for installations to be on previously developed land and states such facilities should not exceed 25 years with a decommissioning strategy required as part of an application.

The document was consulted on ahead of it being approved for adoption at a meeting of the full council on November 12.

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