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    Scots govt proposes planning changes on renewables installation

    Photo: iStock

    The Scottish government is consulting on measures to make it easier to install renewable energy equipment by businesses.

    Permitted Development Rights (PDR) grant permission for certain types of development through national legislation, meaning they can go ahead without a formal planning application.

    The proposals would make it quicker and cheaper for businesses and homeowners to install equipment including solar panels and heat pumps, which the government said would help reduce bills and cut carbon emissions.

    The consultation seeks views, for example, on removing the 50kw output limit of solar panels fitted to non-domestic buildings.

    A phased review of PDR is being undertaken by the Scottish government as part of a wider programme of planning reform. The Phase 3 consultation focuses on PDR for the installation of renewable energy equipment for non-domestic and domestic properties.

    “Reforming planning rules to make it easier to install renewable energy equipment on business properties and homes will save people money and benefit the environment,” Planning Minister Joe FitzPatrick said.

    “This consultation’s focus on streamlining the planning process for zero and low carbon technologies is consistent with the strong climate focus in our recently adopted National Planning Framework 4. We must make best use of our planning system to promote and enable the kinds of development that will support our journey to net zero.”

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the development.

    “We know that small businesses are very much aware of the role they have to play in tackling the climate emergency, yet two fifths don’t feel that enough support is in place to help them make the necessary changes,” Andrew McRae, Scotland Policy Chair of the FSB, said.

    “At a time when the cost of doing business crisis is making it harder for businesses to stay afloat, it will come as a great help for smaller firms to remove a barrier to decarbonising and, ultimately, reduce their energy costs.”

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