Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038

Renewable Energy

Policy PER1: Supporting Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Schemes in Portishead


3.87 Strategic policies in the emerging North Somerset Local Plan (particularly policies SP1 Sustainable Development and SP2 Climate Change) require, where appropriate, development proposals to demonstrate how they address the climate emergency and contribute towards the aim of a carbon neutral North Somerset by 2030. One of the key methods to do this is maximising, supporting and encouraging decentralised renewable energy generation in new development.

3.88 Government advice requires that ‘the planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate. It should help to shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions… including (supporting) …renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure’ (NPPF paragraph 152).

3.89 Emerging North Somerset Policy DP7 supports development for renewable energy generation in principle, and identifies particular ‘areas of search’ within Portishead where this might be appropriate.

3.90 During the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan, the Centre for Sustainable Energy produced the Portishead Renewable Energy Study (2021), exploring the potential for renewable energy generation in Portishead. The Study concluded that currently, opportunities for developing large-scale renewable energy projects in the Neighbourhood Area, such as solar or wind, are limited, largely due to Green Belt constraints.

3.91 However, Portishead’s location on the Severn Estuary presents an opportunity to harness its huge tidal range. The recent start-up of a powerful tidal-powered turbine generating electricity in Orkney46 and the investment of billions of pounds in a tidal lagoon project with underwater turbines in Swansea Bay47 suggests that the capability to harness tidal power will soon become commercially viable. The introduction of some form of tidal power generation in Portishead could play a crucial role in achieving our ambition to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

3.92 Tidal and micro-tidal solutions would potentially be viable within the Neighbourhood Area and may be a future solution. These ideas and technologies are not currently developed sufficiently for full consideration, however NDP policy PED5 supports innovative thinking around this approach and encourages projects harnessing this potential.

3.93 The exploration and delivery of alternative renewable energy generation, such as solar and wind, is supported by the Town Council and NDP policy PER1. There are active local renewable energy Community Interest Companies in Portishead, such as Low Carbon Gordano (solar) and Channel Green Energy (wind). These groups are active in the town and the wider area and explore the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy developments that are led by and/or meet the needs of the local Portishead community. These developments are particularly supported by NDP policy PER1.

Related Objective

O7 To deliver sustainable development which prioritises brownfield land, responds positively to the climate crisis, reduces our carbon footprint and energy demand, and mitigates the local impacts of climate change.

Local Policy Context

  • CS1 Addressing climate change and carbon reduction
  • CS2 Delivering sustainable design and construction
  • CS3 Environmental Impacts and Flood Risk Management Solar photovoltaic array SPD


Decentralised renewable and low carbon energy schemes will be supported and encouraged, and will be approved where their impact is, or can be made, acceptable.

Particular support will be given to local renewable and low carbon energy generation developments that:

  • are led by local renewable energy groups, and/or meet the needs of the local community;
  • provide energy storage opportunities
  • provide solar canopies over surface car parks
  • harness the tidal energy stemming from the tidal range of the Severn Estuary
  • harness Portishead marina for the use of water source heat pumps.

In determining applications for local renewable and low carbon energy generation developments, the following issues will be considered:

i. the contribution of the proposals, in light of North Somerset Council’s aim for a carbon neutral North Somerset by 2030, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising our energy system; and

ii. the impact of the scheme, together with any cumulative issues, on landscape character, visual amenity, water quality and flood risk, heritage significance, local character and distinctiveness (as identified in the Portishead Community Character Statement), recreation, biodiversity and, where appropriate, agricultural land use, aviation and telecommunications; and

iii. the impact on users and residents of the local area, including where relevant, shadow flicker, glint and glare, air quality, vibration and noise.

Any proposals that could affect the sensitive bird species and other habitats and species of the River Severn Estuary must carry out screening for Habitats Regulation Assessment.



  • In principle, the Town Council supports the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on residential properties - and is exploring opportunities for undertaking a project to map areas of opportunity