Eden Council backs down in solar building regs battle
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 July 2011 at 12:33 pm
We won. Our three month campaign, launched by Eco-Environments and supported by YouGen, to end chaos surrounding planning and building regs for solar panel installations has succeeded. Eden District Council in Cumbria, has confirmed to Eco-Environments that it will no longer require people to apply for building regulations as long as their chosen installer is a member of the Government’s Competent Person Scheme.
Eco Environments said that a revised document published by the Communities and Local Government Department made it clear that councils were wrong to insist on such regulations.
The campaign was launched after Eco Environments received reports from homeowners that they were routinely being asked to apply and pay for building regulations applications. It quickly won the backing of Shadow Energy Ministers Huw Irranca-Davies and Luciana Berger and the local MP Rory Stewart. Within a matter of days, Government Energy Minister Greg Barker pledged to take the matter up with the Communities and Local Government Department.
During the campaign, other local authorities, including West Lancashire Council, were exposed as using similar tactics with homeowners and businesses looking to sign up to renewable energy technologies.
David Hunt, a director with Eco-Environments said: “We are delighted that Eden District Council has written to us confirming that it will no longer demand that our customers apply for building regulations.
“The Government’s revised documents make it crystal clear that customers using companies such as our own, which are members of the Competent Person Scheme and MCS approved, can allow us to self-certify all aspects of installation including roof structure.
“While it is a great shame that a number of customers have had to suffer unnecessary stress and financial costs during the flouting of Government guidance, it is a huge step forward that councils such as Eden District are now telling us they are happy to comply.”
The Microgeneration Strategy, announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in June this year, sets out an action to ensure that "the MCS Green Deal and Building Regulations Competent Person Scheme accreditations are compatible". I hope that it's addressing this as an urgent priority. In the meantime, click here to find out what the rules are.
Photo by Michael Homan
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