Energy: Microgeneration

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Lord Beaumont of Whitley Lord Beaumont of Whitley Green

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that there are consistent and high targets for microgeneration in the local development frameworks and regional spatial strategies currently being developed.

Photo of Baroness Andrews Baroness Andrews Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government)

My officials sent all English planning authorities a copy of the Written Ministerial Statement of 8 June 2006 on planning policy statement 22 (PPS22), which encouraged them to take account fully of the positive approach to renewables that it sets out. In doing so they emphasised that the Government expected authorities that had not yet taken steps to include such policies in their plans to do so at the next available opportunity. Government Offices are active in their regions in encouraging regional planning bodies and planning authorities to bring forward regional spatial strategies and local development documents in line with national policies.

All inspectors who will examine development plan documents have had the Statement drawn to their attention and been made aware of the importance placed by government on the use of renewable energy. An inspector will check that the planning authority has prepared a development plan document legally and test whether it is sound. In doing so, the inspector will consider whether the document is consistent with national planning policy. After the examination, the inspector will produce a report, with recommendations that will be binding on the authority. Where necessary, the report will set out precise recommendations on how the document must be changed.

We have recently consulted on a draft planning policy statement (PPS), Planning and Climate Change, which sets out our proposals on how planning should contribute to reducing emissions and stabilising climate change. Planning is expected to make a full contribution to delivering the Government's Climate Change Programme and energy policies. That includes giving greater emphasis to local renewable sources for supplying the energy needs of new developments. At the local level, development plan documents are expected to set policies on the provision of low-carbon and renewable sources of energy to provide the platform necessary for securing and complementing the increasingly high levels of energy and carbon performance required by building regulations. This provision is expected to be "significant" to reflect the full potential of local opportunities consistent with securing the new development needed in communities.

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