Plans to slash microgeneration red tape

The Government has published plans to make it easier for people to install wind turbines on their homes by eliminating the need for planning permission.

Putting up micro-renewable technologies like wind turbines or solar panels will become easier as planning permission will no longer be required “where it is clear there is little or no impact on neighbouring properties.”

Communities secretary Ruth Kelly launched a consultation recommending the changes, aimed at accelerating the delivery of renewable energy across the country, in a speech to the Green Alliance on Wednesday.

“This consultation document sets out important changes the Government wants to make the planning system to encourage the take-up of microgeneration,” Ruth Kelly said.

“This will play an essential part in helping us meet a significant proportion of our future energy needs.

“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,” she said.

There are over 100,000 wind, water or ground source microgeneration sources across the country at present, but the Government hopes to raise the number of householders generating as well as consuming energy eight-fold – a goal to be outlined in the Energy White Paper.

Dave Sowden, chief Executive of the Micropower Council, said: “We are most encouraged by the Government’s willingness to tackle the planning system which was acting as a serious barrier to customers who want to invest in microgeneration as part of playing their role in tackling climate change.

“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.

“Of course, the limits need to be set appropriately, and after proper public debate. We welcome the consultation as an opportunity to have an informed debate about the detail in the coming months.”

Goska Romanowicz

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