Page last updated at 00:25 GMT, Sunday, 31 January 2010

Proposals to remove roof turbine permission hurdles

Roof turbine
The proposal will remove the need for planning permission for roof turbines

Homeowners in Scotland may soon be allowed to put wind turbines on their roofs without planning permission.

Turbines with a maximum 3m height and 3.5m diameter would be permitted under the plans.

Free-standing wind turbines as tall as 11m and at least 100m from neighbouring properties would also be allowed.

The Scottish government said the proposals could help cut energy bills and reduce emissions. Labour criticised delays in the process.

Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson stressed that the plans were "not a vision of unrestricted development".

The proposals, which are due to be launched next Friday, are part of an ongoing consultation on renewable energy.

I believe our proposals strike the right balance in the best interests of Scotland
Stewart Stevenson
Climate Change Minister

If passed, they would give "permitted development rights" to homeowners to install turbines and air-source heat pumps, except in conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

They also include plans to allow anemometer masts, which measure wind speed, on roofs and in gardens, but only for a maximum of 12 months.

Air-source heat pumps would also be allowed in conservation areas if they were invisible from the road.

Mr Stevenson said: "By cutting red tape in the planning system we can make it easier for households to generate their own clean, green energy."

'Important step'

If implemented, the proposals will boost Scotland's renewables sector, potentially generating new jobs, he said.

"We have already acted to make it possible for people to install certain technologies but recognise we could go further," the minister added.

"That's why, after researching the feasibility, we are now consulting on these ambitious new measures.

"This is not a vision of unrestricted development. But I believe our proposals strike the right balance in the best interests of Scotland."

While we are glad that common sense has prevailed the fact is that Scotland is already behind other countries
Sarah Boyack
Labour environment spokeswoman

Mike Thornton, Scottish director of the Energy Saving Trust, said the measures could help meet climate change targets.

"Permitted development rights for these technologies are an important step in reducing the barriers for their uptake," he added.

However, Scottish Labour environment spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said the new consultation only meant more delays.

She said: "This has been totally mishandled from the start and now we have an admission from the SNP that they have completely botched up the original plans.

"While we are glad that common sense has prevailed the fact is that Scotland is already behind other countries and another consultation will result in more delays."



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