6 April 2007 – The UK government has launched a consultation, which recommends that consumers will no longer need to apply for planning permission to put microgeneration devices such as solar panels and wind turbines on their homes.
The government hopes that cutting the red tape surrounding the installation of such devices will encourage residents to incorporate green technology in their homes, and therefore play their part in the fight against climate change.
The government said that, although local authorities will retain the right to restrict planning permission in exceptional circumstances, the process of installing green technology should become much easier.
Communities secretary Ruth Kelly said: “I believe that the local planning system should support efforts to tackle climate change rather than acting as a barrier, but it is important that we ensure that there are clear, common sense safeguards on noise, siting and size, and that the unique features of conservation areas are protected.”
There are more than 100 000 microgeneration installations across the UK, including wind, water source or ground source heat pumps and biomass. The government hopes to encourage an eight-fold increase in the number of houses that both produce their own energy through incentives.
Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council, welcomed the news.
He said: “The current planning system says “No” unless there is a good reason to consider otherwise. In future it will say “Yes” within properly considered, pre-defined limits. This will make a big difference to large numbers of customers wanting to take up microgeneration, but put off today by bureaucracy and inconsistency.”