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Kelly cuts red tape on domestic green energy

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Communities secretary Ruth Kelly has announced her plans to slash red-tape on domestic energy, making it easier for householders to put up solar panels and wind turbines on their homes.

Speaking to the Green Alliance, Kelly said that she has launched a bid allowing people to put microgeneration devices on their homes, without needing to apply for planning, where it is clear there will be little or no impact on neighbouring properties.

Kelly said: 'I believe that the local planning system should support efforts to tackle climate change rather than acting as a barrier, but it is important that we ensure that there are clear, common-sense safeguards on noise, siting and size and that the unique features of conservation areas are protected.'

There are currently more than 100,000 microgeneration installations across the country, including wind, water-source or ground-source heat pumps and biomass.

In the new Energy White Paper unveiled today, the government wants to make eight times the number of households into energy producers as well as consumers.

The move has been welcomed by green groups, such as the Micropower Council, who see it as an opportunity for customers to battle climate change.

Dave Snowden, chief executive of Micropower Council said: 'The current planning system says 'no' unless there is a good reason to consider otherwise. In future, it will say 'yes' within properly considered, pre-defined limits.

'This will make a big difference to large numbers of customers wanting to take up microgeneration but put off today by bureaucracy and inconsistency.'

by Richard Vaughan

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