Azara Blog: Planning permission for wind turbines and solar panels on homes is supposed to be made easier

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Date published: 2007/04/04

The BBC says:

Installing wind turbines and solar panels on homes should not necessarily require planning permission, the government has suggested.

If there is little or no impact on neighbouring properties then homeowners should not have to apply to their council, Ruth Kelly said.

The communities secretary said planning laws should not be a barrier to tackling climate change.
...
Ms Kelly, in a speech to environmental group the Green Alliance on Wednesday, said such "microgeneration" items should not be used as a "fashion accessory".

But with routine applications taking up to three months and costing as much as £1,000, she said: "The local planning system should support efforts to tackle climate change rather than acting as a barrier.

"We need changes to ensure the system is proportionate - whilst retaining clear, common-sense safeguards on noise, siting and size."

Her department said that under the proposals, which are open for consultation, members of the public will still need to check with their council about whether they can install the technology.

If all criteria are met then it can be installed without planning permission. If it does not meet the criteria then a planning application will have to be made.

Councils will be able to restrict planning permission in "exceptional" circumstances, such as where the impact on the neighbourhood is greater than the benefit.

"A wind turbine in a built-up area with little wind" would come under this category.

The devil, as usual, is in the detail, but making it easier to install so-called sustainable energy systems makes some sense. But wind turbines in particular can have a large visual and noise impact, so these are a much trickier planning issue than solar panels. For wind turbines the most contentious areas will be built-up neighbourhoods, but fortunately these also generally happen to be the ones least suitable for wind power.

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