Headlines: August 10th, 2009

Changes to planning regulations in Wales will make it easier for householders to install solar panels and other micro-generation equipment. The changes will come into effect from the beginning of next month and go further than similar rules in England.

Under the changes certain types of micro-generation equipment will no longer need planning permission. The aim is to encourage local communities and individuals to install equipment that will help to tackle climate change and lower energy bills. The Welsh Assembly Government says property owners will also benefit from not having to pay planning fees.

The Welsh Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister, Jane Davidson, said micro-generation could play a major part in decarbonising energy supply. “Wales in particular has a large share of off gas-grid, hard to heat and hard to treat homes. In these cases, micro-generation can be the most effective method of removing people from fuel poverty and providing energy security,” she said.

The new regulations will cover domestic micro-generation equipment, including solar thermal panels, ground and water source heat pumps and flues associated with biomass and combined heat and power systems that are fitted on or within the boundaries of houses and flats.

Ms Daviodson added: “I am particularly pleased that we have gone further than the authorities in England by allowing stand alone solar panels up to the boundaries of properties, providing they satisfy certain height and highway criteria.”