23 November 2005
Boris Johnson MP: Practical Action Needed on Climate Change
Speaking in yesterdays Climate Change Opposition Day Debate, Boris Johnson MP called on the Government to match its climate change rhetoric with action by removing planning restrictions, unaltered since 1995, governing the installation of rooftop solar panels.
Arguing in favour of increasing the energy efficiency of our nation’s housing stock as one of the most cost effective ways of reducing our consumption of energy and carbon dioxide emissions Mr Johnson outlined:
A single policy initiative, which I am sure will meet universal approval among Labour Members and my hon. Friends …For an outlay of £3000 Mrs. Anley (of Sonning Common) can add to her roof a wonderful panel by which she can heat her water. It is a photovoltaic pump. She assures me – I have no reason to doubt her, since I have taken the trouble to look up her plans on the internet – that she can reduce her carbon emissions by half a tonne of Co2 a year and that she can supply up to 70 per cent of her hot water needs in doing so. The kicker is that she has to get planning permission …
Mr Johnson pointed out that:
The device that Mrs Anley seeks to install is only 2ft by 4ft and only 8cm thick, but to get planning permission, she must pay a non-negotiable flat fee of £135. She must then get an architectural artist to produce drawings of her house, which, as you will readily appreciate, Mr Deputy Speaker, will push her costs well over £200 … I look forward to hearing later that he (the Minister) is going to do a little bit more than set up a committee in the DTI to clarify matters, because this needs to be done urgently, and he is the man to do it.
Solar panels currently fall into Class C (roof alterations), of Schedule 2, Article 3, Part 1 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.