Homeowners, schools and other community organisations interested in fitting their own green energy systems will from April have even more reasons to take the plunge, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks announced today.
An overhaul of the Government's Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) will see more generous grants for schools and public buildings, while the £10 million support still available to householders will be extended until 2010 for new applications.
And there will be no need to get planning permission to install devices like solar panels, ground and water source heat pumps and biomass systems. Relaxation of the planning rules for micro wind and air source heat pumps is expected to follow shortly.
Speaking during a visit to Hampton Hill Junior School in Richmond, Middlesex, which received a Government grant towards the cost of installing solar panels, Mr Wicks said.
"Many people tell me they want to do their bit to help combat climate change but are put off by the hassle involved. These changes remove those barriers.
"Overhauling the grants scheme makes small scale green energy technology a more affordable option for public organisations, schools and charities. Installing microgeneration in schools can play a part in teaching children and their parents about climate change and the role that the individual can play in tackling this global challenge.
"I am pleased that more than two hundred schools have already applied for grants to install green energy technologies like the solar panels we've seen today. The changes from April will encourage even more people to follow Hampton Hill Junior's lead."
Housing & Planning Minister Caroline Flint said:
"Almost a third of all carbon emissions come from housing. This week the rules will change to make it easier for homeowners to put up green technology, like solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint.
"The government is committed to tackling climate change in housing which is why we have set a world-leading timetable for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016."
The changes are:
- From April 1st LCBP Household stream will be extended to June 2010 or as long as funds are available, whichever is the sooner.
- From April 1st there will be an increase in grant caps to 50% across all technologies for the schools, charities and public sector phase of LCBP.
- From 6th April, many homeowners will be able to install microgeneration equipment, like solar panels, without needing to get planning permission; as long as there is clearly no impact on others.