Energy Saving Trust to present DTI with a series of radical proposals to stimulate energy-efficient construction

Developers may be able to obtain fast track planning permission for schemes that include low-carbon buildings, according to proposals being developed by the Energy Savings Trust, a government agency with the ear of the DTI.

The trust has been commissioned by the DTI to examine the role of microgeneration in energy policy. The trend of its thinking on this subject is revealed in a recent report that it produced off its own back. Measures suggested include:

  • Granting “permitted development” status to low carbon buildings to avoid the cost and delays associated with seeking planning permission.
  • Modifying planning gain agreements to reward developers that build to a high-energy performance standard. The trust proposes that developers that reach these targets would benefit by an average of £1000 for each property built.
  • A stamp duty land tax rebate of £1000 on the first sale of properties built to energy efficiency standards.
  • An accreditation scheme for local energy generation products and installers.
  • The inclusion of standards for “microgeneration” – that is, the generation of on site energy – in the 2010 energy Building Regulations.
  • The establishment of a microgeneration body to provide support for local authorities.

In a forward to the report, trust chairman Eddie Hyams said: “Microgeneration is the only realistic option for cutting carbon dioxide emissions from energy generation for the mass market. The alternatives are nuclear power and other large scale generation.”

Microgeneration is the only realistic option for cutting CO2

Eddie Hyams, Energy Saving Trust

The DTI is midway through its consultation on microgeneration strategy and low-carbon buildings. It has proposed a grant scheme to encourage developers to include small-scale energy generation technologies in their projects.

The scheme will replace the present DTI scheme for renewable energy technologies, the Clear Skies and Major PV Demonstration Programme. The government claims this has failed to stimulate the market for low energy technology, and it wants to encourage demand and cut the cost of microgeneration.