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Advice on miro-renewables

11/05/2006

New advice will encourage householders to consider options for generating power on top of their home or in their back yard.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm today launched a Planning Advice Note aimed at promoting the roll-out of micro-renewables in an attractive and unobtrusive way.

Microgeneration is an environmentally-friendly method of producing heat and power on a small scale - including technologies such as solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and heat pumps.

It has become a more attractive prospect due to increased awareness, falling costs and the opportunity to save on fuel bills.

Mr Chisholm said:

"The new advice sets out in simple, straightforward terms what options are available for micro-renewables and what you need to do.

"Planning has a vital role to ensure we get this right at the outset so that we can harness all the benefits with minimal impact on our built and natural heritage.

"Scotland has enormous natural renewable sources and Scottish firms are at the forefront of this new technology. There are huge opportunities to cut down harmful carbon emissions.

"We want to raise awareness and inform developers, planners and communities of the various micro-renewable technologies. The advice highlights good practice for installing systems and aims to promote their use across Scotland.

"Planning permission is not always required but at all times we have to ensure that micro-renewables equipment is designed and sited appropriately.

"We are currently undertaking root and branch modernisation of our planning system so that it meets the needs of a modern Scotland. We want to involve communities at the outset in the development plans for their areas.

"This new advice is very much part of that process - a plain English guide for the public, planners and developers so that they make best use of this exciting technology.

"Micro-renewables also offer affordable and sustainable power for communities across Scotland - particularly in more remote areas."

Research issued by the Energy Saving Trust reveals that almost 9 out of 10 of homeowners surveyed said they would consider installing micro-renewables technologies in their home.

The guidance was launched today by the Minister as he toured Renewable Devices based at the Bush Estate, Penicuik. It was set up four years ago to produce micro renewable products. More recently, and with the help of pound45,000 Executive funding, it has developed the Swift system - the world's first silent horizontal axis rooftop wind turbine.

Maf Smith, Chief Executive of green energy trade body Scottish Renewables, said:

"Scots are keen to install their own micro-renewable devices - whether it is at home or to support their business - but many have been put off by how complicated it can be.

"The advice published by the Scottish Executive today should go a long way to easing the concerns of people who want to reduce the impact of rising energy bills while doing their bit to tackle climate change by installing micro renewable devices.

"Importantly, the advice will also help local authorities unlock the potential of micro-renewables in their region by providing them with the information they need to make good decisions."

The Scottish Executive has set a target that 40 per cent of electricity in Scotland will come from renewable sources by 2020.

The new advice (Planning for Micro Renewables, annex to Planning Advice Note 45) is available online at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Planning/AdviceGuidance/PANs

It gives details of innovative projects already under way in Scotland such as the Fife Schools Pilot Project, Glenrothes; Napier University; Crichton Castle, Midlothian; Bridge of Don Academy, Aberdeen;

Dumbeg Park, Edinburgh; and Berwickshire Housing Association.

Solar panels and small wind turbines are two of the better known technologies. The guidance also features water and air-sourced heat pumps, biomass, and photo-voltaic panels. Microgeneration is widely accepted to be the production of heat (less than 45 kilowatt capacity) and / or electricity (less than 50kW) capacity from zero or low carbon sources.

Use of the technology is increasingly diverse. Some are suited to feeding into the mains supply. Others are stand-alone and used to power street lights and bus shelters (Motherwell has the UK's first wind and solar powered shelter).

Funded by the Executive, the Scottish Community and Household Renewables Initiative, provides a one-stop service and financial support for community groups and householders interested in developing their own renewable energy projects.

Details of current costs of the various types of micro-renewable technologies are available on the Energy Saving Trust website. http://www.est.org.uk/myhome/generating/types/

More details about Scottish Renewables can be found on: www.scottishrenewables.com.

The Executive has also commissioned research into the extent of permitted development rights, which remove the need to apply for planning permission, and the scope for increasing these for micro-renewables.