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Micro-generation for Scotland

The Scottish Government has published its proposals for introducing permitted development rights for domestic micro-generation.

Launching a 10 week consultation period Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "Everybody has a part to play if we are to achieve the 80% reduction in emissions we propose as a statutory target in our forthcoming Climate Change Bill.

"The cost and time required to get planning consent can often be a disincentive to households seeking to install regeneration technologies. We are seeking to strike the right balance between planning considerations and the wider environmental benefit of reducing carbon emissions."

The proposals cover six types of micro-generation technology. There will be no permitted development rights for hydro-electric generators.

For two of the three types of heat pump, water and ground source, and for bio-mass boilers not extending more than 1 m above the roof, all applications will be permitted under the proposals.

For air sourced heat pumps there will be no planning requirement if the neighbouring dwelling is more than 100 metres distant.

Many of constraints on householders from implementing micro-generation on their buildings without specific permission will apply only to listed buildings and conservation areas.

The proposed restrictions from the exemptions from the planning process relate to distance from neighbouring dwellings, dwelling types, size of installed equipment and visibility. Most of the visibility restrictions will only apply within conservation areas.

Solar panels on buildings will not be exempt from planning procedures on the walls of apartment blocks or visibly in conservation areas but will otherwise be permitted on walls and pitched roofs for up to 60% of the total surface area and with protrusion of less than 150 mm above roof/wall plane.

Wind turbines, which tend to be more contentious, will be permitted, other than in conservation areas, on domestic buildings if more than 100 metres from the neighbouring house or flat and if they do not extend more than 3 metres above the top of the roof.

Free standing solar structures will be permitted without planning approval if less than 4m high, at least 5m from the owner's boundary and have an area of array of no more than 9 sq. m. Free standing wind turbines will be limited to one per dwelling and will be subject to a 11.1m height limit and 1.1 m blade length limit.

Over 2,000 grants , totalling £18M, have been awarded to householders in Scotland since the Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative was launched in 2003.Later this year the Scottish Government intends to issue proposals for non-domestic buildings.

Consultation on the paper, available from www.scotland.gov.uk runs until the 12th of May.

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