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KELLY UNDER FIRE ON GREEN PLANS

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Planners are warning the government has done too little to simplify the process for approving green home improvemen...
Planners are warning the government has done too little to simplify the process for approving green home improvements.

Last week communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly announced plans designed to make it easier for residents to fit solar panels or wind turbines on their houses.

Ms Kelly launched a consultation recommending householders no longer required permission to install microgeneration devices when there is little impact on nearby properties.

She said: 'There is clearly a balance to be struck. I believe that our approach - of constrained local flexibility within a clear, long-term framework -is the right one.'

The government's consultation is designed to overcome the problem of supposedly routine applications taking up to three months to determine and costing up to£1,000. Conservative leader David Cameron is among those to have encountered difficulties when his wind turbine was deemed to have breached conditions imposed by Kensington & Chelsea RBC.

The chairman of the Planning Officers Society sustainability committee, Stephen Tapper, welcomed the commitment.

But he said the document contained complex details about acceptable noise from turbines, which could require officers to take decibel readings from numerous locations.

'What I was hoping for was a regime in which the supplier of these units would require a certificate saying the unit met certain standards and in any situation it could be guaranteed not to cause nuisance to neighbours,' he said.

'But this is a complicated set of requirements,' he added.

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