UK to Ease Rules for On-Site Renewable Energy Installations

by | Nov 18, 2009

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farmwindturbinesAimed at helping cut carbon emissions, the UK has proposed new planning rules that will allow home owners, offices, schools, stadiums and railway stations to install solar panels without planning permissions, reports the Telegraph. Councils will also be able to install charging stations for electric cars in public parking lots without filling out forms, according to the newspaper.

Planning rules for other renewable sources will also ease but with a few restrictions. For example, biomass boilers, water source heat pumps and wind farm projects will be allowed but only if they meet limits on size, noise levels and visual impact, reports the Telegraph.

New research shows that biomass is increasing in popularity in the UK as it pursues its 20 percent renewables target by 2020.

The planning proposals published by the Department for Communities and Local Government will allow wind turbines of up to 15 feet to be installed on industrial estates or on farmland without planning permission, according to the newspaper.

Currently households that want to install solar panels or wind turbines have to apply for planning permission with their local authority, despite earlier reforms of planning laws in 2008 (PDF) that were designed to make “microgeneration” installations easier, reports the Guardian.

While many welcome the overhaul, some like Paul Miner, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, have raised concerns over the siting of wind turbines. He told the Telegraph that he would want local authorities to have the power to control siting and the design of small wind turbines to ensure minimal impact on the landscape.

The proposal is now under a three-month consultation.

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