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Less and less red tape for renewables
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Following last year's relaxation of the planning rules for some microgeneration equipment, the government have announced a further step. In proposals published today for consultation, homeowners, developers and businesses will be able to install their own on-site wind turbines, and air source heat pumps without the expense and red tape of planning permission.
Less and less red tape for renewables

Last year CLG introduced new permitted development rights for householders, granting them the freedom to extend their properties without the need to apply for planning permission. These included new rights for microgeneration equipment, including solar panels and biomass systems. Under the proposed changes, non domestic properties such as offices, institutions, industries and farm properties will be able to make similar changes to their properties as well as installing solar panels.

The new rules would also allow councils and electric car drivers to install electric car charger points on streets and in car parks without needing to make a planning application.

The relaxation of the planning rules would come with strict caveats about size, noise levels, location and the visual impact on an area. During the course of the three month consultation, the Government will be asking for views about these standards and requirements for the final legislation. Once agreed by Parliament, the new rights would be closely monitored and regularly reviewed.

The announcement today echoes the call John Healey made last week for a “national crusade” to tackle climate change. He called on all homeowners, developers, tenants and landlords to make the changes that make big differences in the run up to Copenhagen and beyond.

For the first time, the proposals will outline how businesses and public buildings will be able to install renewable technologies such as solar panels. This could lead to the installation of new solar roofs at stadiums, schools and railway stations, or recladding an office building with solar panels, potentially saving thousands of pounds a year on energy bills. Wind turbines up to 15metres high would be permitted, in locations like industrial estates or agricultural areas where they would not become a nuisance to residents.

The package is part of the government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, required to meet carbon cutting targets.

Housing Minister, John Healey, said: "The people who want to greenproof their homes should get a helping hand, not a stop sign. Our planning rules need to catch up with changing technologies and allow people to take the small measures that make big differences. Not only could this save up to hundreds of pounds in fuel bills, they will also help the environment.

"At the same time we need tough rules so that permitted development does not become a nuisance, so I am putting in place strong safeguards in relation to noise levels, size, location and the potential impact on an area.

"As a country, nearly half of our carbon emissions come from buildings. That’s more than roads, railways and airports combined. To stand a chance of tackling climate change, we need nothing less than a national crusade with everyone able to play their part to offset carbon emissions.

"It’s not long now until the Copenhagen climate change conference in December. It is essential we achieve an ambitious, comprehensive and binding agreement and we are working flat out to secure that. We need a deal that works globally but also leads to continued change here at home."

It is estimated that more than 30 per cent of our electricity could be generated from renewables by 2030. A well placed wind turbine in a windy area could save a household up to £380 in electricity bills a year.

Commenting on the plans to relax planning rules for domestic renewables, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "Amending planning controls to make it easier for small-scale renewable energy systems to be installed should encourage more people to play their part in developing a greener future.

"But these schemes would be given an even bigger boost if the Government improved on its plans to introduce a feed-in tariff next year - homes, businesses and communities must be paid more generously than currently intended for the green energy they generate. Climate change must be at the heart of planning policy - the UK could be a world leader in green energy, reaping the substantial economic benefits this would bring."

Rating:  4 (1)  Add feedback ...

 Positive review of this story
  Graham of Gloucestershire 
18 Nov 2009, 1:57 PM 
Doesn't help me though
We are stuck with listed building status & can not even have double glazing or trickle ventiltion installed, so what hope do i have of these. None.

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