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Shadow energy minister puts pressure on government over planning for solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 June 2011 at 10:50 am

Shadow Energy Minister Huw Irranca-Davies has secured a commitment from DECC Minister Greg Barker to examine the issue of councils delaying the installation of household solar panels. 

Following concerns raised with him and fellow Shadow Minister Luciana Berger, by Eco-Environments and YouGen, Huw wrote to Greg Barker highlighting the difficulties faced by solar installers who were needlessly being asked for planning permission for domestic installations.

In his letter to the Minister Huw wrote: “Both the Government and the Labour benches share the same desire to see a rapid uptake in the number of domestic homes benefiting from the feed-in tariff.  As such, can I ask you to investigate this matter, liaising closely with your colleagues at the Department for Communities and Local Government, to ensure current guidance is followed closely by local councils and that all unnecessary barriers to the potential uptake of solar pv, and all other small scale renewables, below 50kw are removed?”

Minister Greg Barker responded, writing: “I agree that it is important that local councils are fully aware of the planning rules relating to solar panels.  I am happy to raise this matter with my colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government to explore options for making sure these rules are clearly understood by local councils, and to continue to work with them on removing barriers to the take up of microgeneration technologies.”

Commenting afterwards, Shadow Minister Huw stated: “Given the fiasco we have seen over solar feed-in-tariffs, it is now vital to remove any barriers to the green jobs which come from household solar installations.  Greg Barker must take this matter up urgently with DCLG and I urge the Government to work with industry to cut out any unnecessary barriers and confusion over planning and building regulations.”

The Labour Party Shadow Frontbench Energy and Climate Change Team will continue to monitor developments on this matter, and will work closely with solar installers for an accurate picture of the issues they may face in the months ahead.

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