Abstracts: September 10th, 2007

This pamphlet published by the New Local Government Network calls for local planning laws to be relaxed to allow more people the option of installing eco-friendly energy sources to their homes. It urges local councillors to consult with residents on whether to reduce the amount of planning permission required to install a microgeneration system. The pamphlet suggests that the forthcoming Planning Bill could be amended to reflect this new level of public involvement.

It also calls for councils to support residents wishing to invest in microgeneration technology, including offering interest-free loans to cover the cost of installation and giving a Council Tax rebate to homes with an eco-friendly energy supply. Currently the Government offers a grant of up to 30% to pay for the installation of micro-generation technology.

The pamphlet also argues that central government could also give local authorities incentives to promote microgeneration through a cost-neutral performance grant that would reward those who improve most quickly. This could form a part of the local government grants regime and be cost-neutral for central government, where the cost of rewarding successful authorities is offset by a mild penalty for poor performance.

The pamphlet is available free of charge at www.nlgn.org.uk.