The New Local Government Network (NLGN), an independent think tank that seeks to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities, says that planning laws should be relaxed to increases the take up of green energy systems.
A pamphlet published by the NLGN has called for local planning laws to be relaxed to allow more people the option of installing eco-friendly energy sources to their homes. It has called for local councillors to be able to consult with local residents on whether to reduce the amount of planning permission required to install a micro generation system. The pamphlet suggests that the forthcoming Planning Bill could be amended to reflect this new level of public involvement.
It also calls for councils to support residents wishing to invest in micro generation technology, including offering interest-free loans to cover the cost of installation and giving a Council Tax rebate to homes with an eco-friendly energy supply. Currently the Government offers a grant of up to 30% to pay for the installation of micro-generation technology.
Central government could also give local authorities incentives to promote micro generation through a cost-neutral performance grant that would reward those whom improve most quickly. This could form a part of the local government grants regime and be cost neutral for central government, where the cost of rewarding successful authorities is offset by a mild penalty for poor performance.
James Macgregor, author of the report, said: “Council tax rebates and capital loans for householders that install domestic micro generation equipment would incentivise local people to engage in the process."
Great stuff! It’s about time that the Government did something that will truly have a positive effect on the take up of small scale renewable energy. New initiatives of this kind need to be linked to incentives to be more energy efficient and then we may start seeing some changes. Of course none of this will happen over night but it is “a step in the right direction”.
More information and links to the NGLN White Paper (e-pamphlet) can be found at : http://www.nlgn.org.uk/public/