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Green light for solar panels in Scotland


The majority of householders in Scotland will be able to install solar panels and other energy generating equipment without planning permission from now on, although government ministers have yet to decide whether to exempt wind turbines and air-source heat pumps.

Ground-source and water-source heat pumps will get the green light, as will flues for biomass systems which use organic materials. The move was announced by finance secretary John Swinney, who said the concession would cut red tape, help householders cut heating bills and reduce emissions.

“By encouraging greater use of micro-generation technologies we are letting householders play their part in reducing emissions while creating new jobs in an emerging industry,” said Swinney.

Solar panels will be allowed if they are on a pitched roof or on a wall and do not protrude more than 200mm. But permission will still be needed for panels on the walls of buildings containing flats, and extra safeguards would apply in conservation areas or work heritage sites.

Elizabeth Leighton, Senior Policy Officer with WWF Scotland, said: “This move will help fuel the micro-generation revolution we need to fight climate change and fuel poverty. Now homeowners can begin to realise the full energy producing potential of their homes without the hassle and unnecessary restrictions.

“However, while the rules have been relaxed for some householders, those in flats who want to install micro-renewables on outside walls have been left out in the cold. We see no reason why flat dwellers should not have Permitted Development Rights, the same as residents of other buildings.

“We urge the Scottish Government to engage with the industry as soon as possible to resolve permitted development rights on wind turbines and air source heat pumps without delay so the full package is available to all homeowners.”


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