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April 2007

Manchester bus shelters go solar
Bus shelters are to be revamped and fitted with solar-powered panels in order to improve passenger safety and energy efficiency. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) has agreed to spend £100,000 on 49 bus shelters. Roof-mounted solar panels will generate electricity during the day which is then stored in batteries to light... more
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Homebuyers prefer greener houses
The majority of UK homebuyers would prefer a house with environmentally friendly features, according to a new study by Nationwide Building Society. Given the choice between two properties of a similar size and value, 82% of respondents claimed a house with features such as solar panels, had more of an influence on their decision to buy than attic... more
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Walsh starts work on Fenland eco house
Nick Seaton, Fenland District Council's building control manager, joined Tommy Walsh of Ground Force television programme fame as worked kicked off this week on the ambitious plan to build an affordable, eco-friendly, two-bedroom house for £60,000 in just 60 days... more   back to top


 

LEADER -

Planning restrictions for domestic renewables to be lifted

Labour MP and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Ruth Kelly, has proposed to lift planning permission restrictions on “microgeneration” technologies for UK homes and the proposal has been broadly welcomed.

Speaking at the Climate Change Summit held by the Green Alliance, (where Kelly was the key note speaker), she emphasised the key role that local authorities can play in tackling climate change.

Kelly highlighted the fact that UK household emissions account for roughly 5 times more than those from air travel and up to a quarter of the UK’s overall carbon emissions. To help alleviate this situation, she proposed that household micro-generation devices such as wind turbines, solar panels and other microtechnologies should, from next year, no longer require planning permission. The only restrictions would be for installations which would might have a negative impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. “We need a planning system which supports people's efforts to tackle climate change rather than acting as a barrier. These green technologies can help keep fuel bills down and can even allow households to earn a small amount by selling excess electricity to the grid.“

As things stand, applications must be processed and approved by the local council and this may take several months and have considerable cost. There are already approximately 100,000 micro generation installations across the UK, including wind and water power, biofuel boilers and ground source heat pumps. With some of the planning red-tape swept aside, the figure is expected to rise to more than 1.3 million by 2020.

The report that led to this announcement looked at the scope for allowing the installation of micro-generation technologies on homes without the need for a planning application, (see link below).

Final report from a Review of the related Permitted Development Regulations

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New web site for reclaimed materials
Reclamation specialists BioRegional Reclaimed have launched a new web site to help demolition contractors reclaim materials and fittings and aid developers and DIY enthusiasts to use more reclaimed building materials - reducing environmental impacts at no extra cost. BioRegional Reclaimed is part of the BioRegional Development... more   back to top

Eco Station may get green light
A £2.5million project to create the country's most environmentally friendly train station has been unveiled. The scheme would see Accrington station knocked down and rebuilt using state-of-the-art "green" materials. The building would feature an electricity-generating wind turbine and would re-use rainwater in toilets and... more
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Forestry Commission promotes woodfuel
The Forestry Commission has launched a plan to boost the supply of woodfuel. The new strategy aims to source an extra two million tonnes of wood a year by 2020 for burning in boilers. The FC say using more wood for energy could provide new rural jobs and help Britain meet its climate targets... more   back to top

Affordable homes to be built on 'brownforest ' land
An innovative approach to developing affordable housing by using surplus Forestry Commission Wales land has taken another step forward recently, with planning permission granted for three houses at Dinas Mawddwy, Gwynedd. In 2004, Environment, Planning and Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones asked FC Wales... more   back to top

Growing demand for greener buildings
A Norfolk construction company has found there is a growing demand for high quality environmentally friendly properties. Willow Builders, based at Ditchingham, near Diss, specialises in the construction of individual residential properties and small commercial premises... more    back to top

Green Yorkshire visitor centre opens
An area of Yorkshire woodland has become even greener - with the opening of a new state of the art eco friendly visitor centre. The striking £2.6m visitor centre in Dalby Forest, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, has been designed to be as sustainable as possible, setting a "gold standard" for such buildings... more    back to top

 

 

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Forthcoming Events

26 April 2007
Building a Low Carbon World - London

The conference will be a forum for industrialists, scientists, politicians and thought leaders to pool our combined expertise and practical experience...
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14 May 2007
Zero Carbon Development - REA Conference

This year's mass-market renewable conference will focus on zero carbon development and the role for renewables within this sector...
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20-21 May 2007
Building for a Sustainable Future

England’s leading museum of historic buildings will look firmly to the future when it hosts its annual celebration of sustainability and ‘green’ building technology...
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