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Planning removed for community renewables

Community renewable electricity generation such as wind turbines will have planning permissions removed under new government proposals.

Housing minister John Healey said the plan was to reduce overall carbon emissions.

Homeowners, developers and businesses will be able to install wind turbines, and air source heat pumps without resorting to applying for planning permission. 

Councils could also introduce charging points for electric cars both on street and in car parks without planning.

Restrictions would be placed on the size, noise levels, location and visual impact of any installation.

Healey said: “The people who want to greenproof their homes should get a helping hand, not a stop sign. Our planning rules need to catch up with changing technologies and allow people to take the small measures that make big differences. Not only could this save up to hundreds of pounds in fuel bills, they will also help the environment.

“At the same time we need tough rules so that permitted development does not become a nuisance, so I am putting in place strong safeguards in relation to noise levels, size, location and the potential impact on an area.

“As a country, nearly half of our carbon emissions come from buildings. That’s more than roads, railways and airports combined. To stand a chance of tackling climate change, we need nothing less than a national crusade with everyone able to play their part to offset carbon emissions.

“It’s not long now until the Copenhagen climate change conference in December. It is essential we achieve an ambitious, comprehensive and binding agreement and we are working flat out to secure that. We need a deal that works globally but also leads to continued change here at home.”

The government projects to have up to 30% of electricity eventually produced from renewable sources.

During the course of the three month consultation, the Government will be asking for views about these standards and requirements for the final legislation. Once agreed by Parliament, the new rights would be closely monitored and regularly reviewed.

Energy Minister Lord Hunt said: “Our clean energy cashback scheme coming next year will mean people get paid to produce their own renewable energy. We can’t allow the planning system to get in the way of tackling climate change. We’ve already had an overhaul of the planning system for big energy projects and now we’re working on the smaller scale. Small scale renewable generation will contribute to us meeting our renewable energy target for 2020 and making sure we cut our carbon emissions.”

Under the proposals, wind turbines up to 15m high would be permitted, in locations like industrial estates or agricultural areas where they would not become a nuisance to residents.

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