Microgeneration requirement taken up in planning

Local authorities are making use of new powers to require a minimum amount of micro-generation in new build, with around a third of new development plans including such requirements, a Government survey released this week shows.

The ODPM survey looked at the 121 plans for new developments across England put forward since the Planning Policy Statement 22 was introduced in August 2004, giving local authorities the right to impose minimum renewable generation quotas for new build.

It examined whether local authorities were taking advantage of these new-found powers, and found this to be the case in around a third (39 out of 121) of the development plans.

But out of the 121, 25 plans “could not reasonably be expected to include” micro-generation requirements, either because they were specialist waste plans, alterations of existing plans, or ‘old style’ plans already in their final stages when the new planning policy came in.

Housing minister Yvette Cooper commented the survey results: “We need to seize on new development as an opportunity not a threat.

“It is time to rethink the way we build. It is time to rethink the way we design our homes and communities, if we are to build communities for the future that are truly sustainable.

She also used the opportunity to promote the green credentials of the Thames Gateway development:

“Our long term ambition should be zero carbon development and we believe the Thames Gateway offers a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in environmental improvements for new developments. We do not know yet how fast we can get there, but the development industry should be clear about our aims and should start planning now for new investment and innovation to meet our goals.”

The Government wants revise planning to make including small-scale microgeneration equipment easier, she said.

“It is patently absurd that you should be able to put a satellite dish up on your house but should have to wrestle with the planning process for small scale microgeneration which is no more obtrusive. We want far more microgeneration to be treated as permitted development,” she said.

The full results of the survey can be found here.

Goska Romanowicz

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