LANDOWNERS have lost an appeal to put solar panels within an AONB site in West Dorset.

Mr and Mrs Pelham Allen said West Dorset District Council had acted ‘inconsistently’ when they refused planning permission for the site at Yeldon, Higher Eype, in March last year.

The proposal was to install a 10kwp ground mounted photo voltaic array to generate electricity for one nearby property. The couple said a larger installation of solar panels at Puncknowle showed the district council was inconsistent, as planning permission for this had been allowed.

But planning inspector Nick Fagan said there were ‘important differences’ between the sites and that the proposal at Eype was ‘more conspicuous’.

He said: “I do not consider the council have been inconsistent. The merits of each site proposed for such arrays must be considered on their individual merits and I conclude that this proposal would harm the character of this part of the AONB and Heritage Coast.”

He added: “The proposal would only generate a level of renewable energy sufficient for the adjacent dwelling and whilst any generation of renewable energy is encouraged, this must be balanced against the proposal’s harm to the landscape.

“The minimal benefits of the proposal in terms of renewable energy generation do not outweigh the impact of the proposed array on the Dorset AONB.”