The site is located at Lochfauld Farm, and is located 4.5km to the north of Glasgow city centre and approximately 2km to the north west of Bishopbriggs. It is located wholly within the Glasgow City Council administrative boundary.
The site has been selected from several options due to the proximity to a grid connection and following a review of potential environmental site constraints and opportunities. The land is to the north of Glasgow – approximately 355m to the north of the settlement boundary. The site is currently in use as arable farmland with a tree belt between the fields proposed for solar panels. The existing tree belt comprises mixed broadleaves and conifers which were planted in 2015 for amenity and landscape benefit and to provide biodiversity improvements.
Why is this site being considered?
The site has excellent access to the local electricity distribution network. A formal grid connection application has been submitted to Scottish Power Energy Networks to export the power from the solar panels to the electricity grid. Locations with suitable grid connection options are difficult to identify and renewable energy development must be located where technically feasible. The site is free from significant constraints and due to the topography of the land and existing vegetation, is relatively well screened from surrounding viewpoints.
Have other sites been considered?
Yes, a detailed review of other potential sites has been undertaken. Other sites have been discounted due to the presence of environmental or technical constraints. The site has been selected following a comprehensive review of land within the applicant’s control as the preferred location for the proposed development due to the proximity to a grid connection and following a review of potential site constraints and opportunities. The site is within the greenbelt to the north of Glasgow but is in close proximity to the urban area (approximately 355m to the north of the settlement boundary).
Planning Policy Considerations
The site is not located within an environmentally sensitive area. There are no statutory environmental designations covering the site, however a local landscape designation applies – Balmore Road / Possil Loch Site of Special Landscape Importance. The site is set back from the Possil Loch SSSI which lies to the south of the site. The site is also covered by the greenbelt designation in the Glasgow City Council City Development Plan (2017) (‘the CDP’). The CDP and Interim Planning Guidance 6 states that renewable energy proposals are considered acceptable in principle in a green belt location.
There is strong policy support for renewable energy development at a national and local level. The position statement for the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), published in November 2020, makes clear the Scottish Government’s intention to actively facilitate decarbonised electricity generation and distribution. Scotland’s Climate Change Act 2019 sets a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. This ambitious target places added weight to existing low carbon policies within Development Plans. The Glasgow City Development Plan supports in principle proposals that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy use and which facilitate the efficient delivery of renewable energy and heat.