Cumbria Wind Energy Supplementary Planning Document

Dates: 2004-2006

Client: Cumbria County Council

Context: Government target that 20% of UK’s electricity generating capacity should be supplied from renewable energy sources by 2020. Supports policies set out in new Cumbria and Lake District Joint Structure Plan 2001 – 2016. Replaces previous supplementary planning guidance issued in 1997 with guidance suitable for third generation onshore wind turbines up to 120m high and is being developed by seven local planning authority partners.

Description: Guidance on the landscape capacity to accommodate wind energy schemes and the potential scale that would be appropriate lies at the heart of this document. It is intended to set out a positive approach to onshore wind energy development guiding it to the most appropriate locations and ensuring that key characteristics and qualities of Cumbria’s landscapes are safeguarded. Coates Associates were initially asked to formulate a methodology and define sensitivity criteria to assess both general capacity and the potential impacts of individual proposals. Our approach to this started with the collation of references and the review of current best practice in capacity and impact assessment for wind energy development, it also builds on the Cumbria Landscape Classification in which our landscape director had a lead role and draws on our experience in assessing current wind farm proposals. We worked closely with the client’s lead landscape officer in developing a suitable methodology, piloting it on two landscape types and making refinements before rolling it out across a total of 14 landscape types. At the same time Coates Associates updated the guidance for landscape and visual impact assessment for individual developments to ensure that these are comprehensive, of a consistent high standard, inform the design process, and present illustrations in a legible and realistic manner. Supplementary work was later commissioned with regard to guidance on design and cumulative effects.


  • Preparation of Part 1 Guidance Chapters on Siting, Design and Cumulative Effects
  • Preparation of Part 2 Landscape Capacity Assessment
  • Preparation of Part 3 Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Guidance