From 6th April 2008, homeowners, schools and other community organisations interested in fitting their own green energy systems will not need planning permission, the Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks announced on 31st March
Also, for public / community buildings the grant cap will be increased to 50%
An increasing number of planning officers, will I am
sure, actively support the installation of solar panels, looking at them
as a positive benefit rather than a blight.
My experience with my local planning Department was poor, however there
was a good conclusion.
I had approached the local planning department for
an amendment so that I could have what are known as solar shingles (very
much like slates but darker and generate electricity) on my roof.
Despite active support from my local councillors, and various environmental
interest bodies, the planners turned it down - I have a refusal letter.
During the application process I had corresponded on this matter with the
Development Director for the council, suggesting that as I was perhaps
the first in Kent to do this, they might want to actively support me and
gain some good PR.
On the day of the refusal letter arriving, a representative of the Director
of Development arrived, said that he couldn't see why I was refused, it
seemed emminently sensible and that the technology I was using was effectively
invisible . The refusal was verbally overturned that day followed by a
letter confirming it - perhaps the fastest a planning application refusal
has ever been overturned!
I didn't have to go to an appeal which I was confident
I would have won, I'm afraid that my respect and confidence in our local
planning office remains pretty well at zero!
see: This is nottingham: Solar Panels refusal
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London has stated that the majority of
solar installations, in particular those that do not extend more than a
certain level beyond the normal roof line are not normally subject to planning
permission. However it is always best to check with your local planning
office and possibly your local buildings control office.
wastes up to £8bn a year on power
Businesses are losing up to £8 billion a year through energy inefficiency
with London offices the worst offenders, according to a study commissioned by
Npower. Its publication coincided with a warning from Ken Livingstone, London's
mayor, that developers would be unlikely to gain planning
permission for large
projects unless they provided opportunities for buildings
to install power generating solar panels. Companies in Birmingham were the most energy efficient, with 83
per cent implementing efficiency practices.
Financial Times. 05 April 2004
In the unlikley event that you do get a refusal make sure you press for
a full explanation and a statement of what your council's overall policy
towards sustainable energy is.
If you have to put in a planning application,
get your neighbours support. Ask them to write to the council using the
words "I support this application" - the wording is important.
You might also approach your local councillor and ask them to make sure
the application goes to committee, in particular if there is a likelihood
There are changes planned for the planning process, it is likely that
during 2007 many small scale energy generation projects will be removed
from the planning process and become 'permitted developments'.
the UK: Small Renewable Energy Developments (Permitted Development) Bill
Northern Ireland: Renewable Energy Development within the Curtilage of
a Dwelling House - Permitted Development Rights