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Planning permission on microrenewables to be relaxed

Householders will be allowed to install solar panels and wind turbines on their properties without having to apply for planning permission, under proposals announced last week. The Department of Communities and Local Government is launching a consultation paper, Changes to Permitted Development: Consultation Paper 1 – Permitted Development Rights for Householder Microgeneration, on the proposition, designed to encourage more householders to reduce their carbon emissions by generating their own green energy. It is hoped that the changes will reduce the numbers of non-controversial planning applications currently clogging up the system. Planning permission may still be required in cases where the installations could significantly affect neighbouring properties or in instances where the technology is unlikely to bring substantial benefits. Dave Sowden, Micropower chief executive, welcomed the consultation. “We are most encouraged by the Government’s willingness to tackle the planning system which currently can act as a serious barrier to customers who want to invest in microgeneration as part of playing their role in tackling climate change,” he said. “The current planning system by default says “no” to microgeneration 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.”