The regional planning body, the North West Regional Assembly, has already stated that local plans in this region should encourage the use of small scale renewable energy projects (or microgeneration) and set targets for 10% of energy for new housing developments to come from renewables.
'We need to seize on new developments as an opportunity not a threat. It is time to rethink the way we build. It is time to rethink the way we design our homes and communities, if we are to build communities for the future that are truly sustainable.
'It is patently absurd that you should be able to put a satellite dish up on your house but should have to wrestle with the planning process for small scale microgeneration which is no more obtrusive. We want far more microgeneration to be treated as permitted development.'
Click here for the full statement from Ms Cooper.
Michael Gallagher, NWRA director of planning, housing and transport said:
'We need to help home owners and property developers make the right decisions and encourage the use of small scale renewable energy not tie them up in knots in the planning process.
'The North West Regional Spatial Strategy will make it easier for people to do their bit to help the environment and set targets for all new developments to incorporate renewable energy production at the planning stage.'
The North West Regional Assembly is the statutory regional planning body for the north west of England and is responsible for producing the Regional Spatial Strategy which interacts with national and local plans.
Yvette Cooper made the announcement in a press release issued on 8 June ref. DCLG 2006/0021 which can be found at www.communities.gov.uk.
The Submitted Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West of England states - Plans and strategies should encourage the use of smaller scale community and on site renewable energy projects. In order to achieve the targets ... all proposals and schemes for new non residential developments above a threshold of 1,000 m2 and all residential developments comprising 10 or more units, should incorporate renewable energy production to provide at least 10% of the development's predicted energy requirements.
Full copies of the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy which is currently out to a major public consultation can be found at www.nwra.gov.uk.