Commercial Renewable Energy Development and the Historic Environment

Historic England Advice Note 15

This Historic England Advice Note describes the potential impacts on the historic environment of commercial renewable energy proposals, which could occupy large areas of land or sea. It is written for all of those involved in commercial renewable energy development, helping them to give appropriate consideration to heritage issues.

Technologies covered include large-scale development proposals for wind power, solar photovoltaics (PV) and biomass and energy from waste (EfW). Not all biomass and EfW is renewable; however, at least a proportion of the energy generated by some facilities that burn biomass and waste is considered renewable, depending on the design of the facility and the characteristics of its fuel supply.

The Advice Note includes consideration of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). Also it covers other large-scale proposals that do not meet the criteria for inclusion in the NSIP regime, but which require assessment under Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations to determine what harm might be caused, including to cultural heritage, and whether this can be avoided or reduced.


  • Context
    Introduction to this Advice Note
    Renewable energy and climate change
    National policy
    Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)
    Proposals that require planning permission and other consents
    Environmental assessment of policy
    Environmental assessment of proposals
  • Advice on heritage assets and their assessment
    Assessing significance and harm in plan-making
    Consideration of the historic environment when making an application
    Physical impacts
    Impacts within setting that can affect significance
    Cumulative impacts
    Transport impacts
    The duration of development and its decommissioning
  • Commercial renewable energy developments
    Solar parks
    Biomass and energy from waste (EfW) developments
    Onshore wind farms
    Offshore wind farms and onshore National Grid connection
  • References and further reading

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 30
  • Product Code: HEAG302


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