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REN1  Principles For Renewable Energy  Strategic Policy

Renewable energy proposals will be assessed with regard to their siting and design, environmental impact, and impact on the amenity of neighbouring uses, subject to the other policies of the plan.

Reasoned justification :

23.1 The generation of power from 'renewable' sources has come to the fore in recent years as a response to the limited life of many traditional energy sources. Coupled with this is the need to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from fossil fuels, including greenhouse gases. The Government is committed to the principle of sustainable development and the reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a priority. Through a series of Non-Fossil Fuel Obligations (NFFO) Government policy actively encourages the development of novel technologies.

23.2 These novel technologies to provide renewable energy include the utilisation of:

- biogas: from sewage sludge and farm slurry
- biomass: energy from crops and forestry
- hydro-electricity
- landfill gas
- solar energy
- waste combustion
- wave and tidal power
- wind power

23.3 There are already small-scale landfill gas and solar energy schemes in Wirral, the former using landfill gas from Bidston Moss to heat industrial premises in north Wirral. This has little impact in land-use terms, as the gas collection plant is small in scale and the gas is fed into the industrial premises' normal plant boilers. Wirral was amongst the forerunners in heating public buildings through solar energy, the former St. Georges School Annex on Leasowe Road in Wallasey, being the first building of its type.

23.4 Clearly, the opportunity to develop such sources depends on a number of factors, including the physical conditions necessary and the environmental effects that a technology will have. Whilst being supportive of renewable energy technology in principle, any proposals should only be allowed if the impact on the environment is acceptable and the amenity of residents can be adequately safeguarded.

23.5 Although current renewable energy technologies may not be appropriate in Wirral, advances in technology may bring forward proposals for renewable energy schemes in the future. These may lead to unobtrusive adaptations to existing buildings or simply the best alignment of new buildings to take advantage of solar gain.

23.6 Over and above these small-scale impacts, larger-scale proposals will, however, still need to be assessed against the policies expressed elsewhere within the UDP and may require Environmental Assessment. Most importantly these will include policies for Green Belt which can be found in Section 7 of the Plan, nature conservation in Section 13, landscape policies in Section 14, policies for waste management in Section 17, for the Coastal Zone in Section 20 and for the control of pollution and hazards which can be found in Section 21 of the UDP.