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Microgeneration Equipment (Non-domestic Premises)

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 15 March 2012

I have laid before Parliament statutory instruments that amend the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. These amendments and this statement fulfil requirements in the Green Energy (Definition and Promotion) Act 2009 to consider amending the 1995 Order to facilitate the installation of equipment for microgeneration on non-domestic land. The new measures will also bring the freedoms for non-domestic premises into line with those for domestic properties.

The measures will provide:

New permitted development rights for installations of solar panels, ground and water source heat pumps, and flues for biomass and combined heat and power systems on non-domestic premises; and

A clarification that structures to house biomass boilers, anaerobic digestion systems and associated waste and fuel stores, and hydro turbines may be installed as permitted development on agricultural and forestry land.

Bringing these measures forward demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the environment and to tackling climate change, by reducing the regulatory burdens that face microgeneration industries. They will also be good for the economy and for job creation.

The rights will mean that small scale microgeneration installations can be installed without a planning application, so it is vital that the potential effects on the area where they will be installed are taken into account. It would undermine our ambitions for green energy production if reforms lead to widespread complaints.

For this reason we have carefully considered consultation responses and have strengthened the requirements to which the permitted development rights will be subject. This includes additional protections for areas of the country which have a special environmental status, such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Consultation was carried out on proposals to introduce permitted development rights for non-domestic installations of wind turbines and air source heat pumps. The Government have committed to review the impact of permitted development rights introduced in 2011 for domestic installations of these technologies to look again at whether the approach to issues such as noise is correct. It would not be appropriate to extend permitted development rights for wind turbines and air source heat pumps further until the outcomes of this review are known.

These measures will come into force on 6 April. We have today published a summary of the responses to the public consultation and a more detailed statement comprising the Government’s response to them. These documents are available from the Department for Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/electricvehicleresponses and http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/electricvehiclegovernment.