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Green Building & Sustainable Development

Proposal to Lift Restrictions on "Green Housing" Technology for UK Homeowners

The Renewable Energy Centre today announced its support for Labour MP Ruth Kelly's proposal to lift planning permission restrictions on "green housing" technology for UK homeowners.

The Local Government and Climate Change Summit was held on Wednesday by the Green Alliance organisation in central London. Attended by Local Government Councillors, Government Agencies and businesses, the main aim of the Summit was to share learning on achievements, facilitate debate on the role of the Government and businesses and to develop policy recommendations.

Ruth Kelly, Labour Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was invited as the key note speaker and her main objective for the speech was to emphasise the role that local authorities can play in tackling climate change.

Contrary to the Conservative's recent proposal for an increase in tax for airline passengers, Kelly highlighted the far more significant fact that UK household emissions account for roughly 5 times more than those from air travel and up to a quarter of the UK's overall carbon emissions.

Kelly's main proposal therefore, was that household micro-generation devices such as wind turbines, solar panels and ground source heat pumps would no longer require planning permission. The only restrictions would be for cases in which it would provide little real benefit or would have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

Kelly stated "We need a planning system which supports the efforts to tackle climate change rather than acting as a barrier."

Currently, applications must be processed and approved by the local council and this may take several months and cost up to a £1000. There are currently approximately 100,000 micro generation installations across the UK including wind and water source or ground source heat pumps. Based on these latest proposals the figure is expected to rise to more than 1.3 million by 2020.

Any individuals making energy saving improvements to their home or commercial property should make their first visit. It contains a fully comprehensive national and local directory of specialist products and suppliers in this arena. There are pages of advice and information on all areas of renewable energy which is particularly useful for property owners researching the possible options available and will help them make an informed decision.

Kelly emphasised the importance of the role of homeowners in her speech. "These green technologies can help keep fuel bills down and can even allow households to earn a small amount by selling excess electricity to the grid".

The plans, if approved, will be included in the upcoming white paper and are set to be implemented by October 1st this year. The proposal is just part of a new overall government strategy to encourage councils, businesses and homeowners to join the fight against climate change.

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