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Rural Areas: Renewable Energy

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to assist rural households on planning issues in relation to alternative sources of energy and microgeneration. (181163)

The Planning Policy Statement on climate change we published at the end of 2007 sets out new planning rules to boost the use of local renewable and low carbon energy. These expect local planners, whether in rural or urban locations, to promote and encourage alternative sources of energy and microgeneration when they help cut carbon emissions. We are also going to make it easier for householders including those in rural areas to install microgeneration equipment without the need to apply for planning permission, subject to certain safeguards to minimise the impact on others. Our aim is to amend the relevant legislation in the spring. Where the proposal would still require a planning application, and it is in line with our new policy rules for cutting carbon emissions, we expect it to be handled expeditiously and sympathetically.