Housing and planning minister proposes changing rules to encourage property owners to install low-carbon options such as wind turbines

Proposed changes to planning laws will make it possible for businesses to erect wind turbines up to 15m high and reclad offices with solar panels without needing planning permission.

The announcement was made today by John Healey, housing and planning minister, who launched a three month consultation which will look at relaxing the planning rules in a bid to cut carbon emissions.

Any changes would come with strict caveats about size, noise levels, location and the visual impact on an area, however it is hoped it would encourage tenants, landlords and homeowners to ‘green’ their properties by installing technologies such as air source heat pumps, photovoltaics and solar thermal panels. It would also allow councils and electric car drivers to install electric car charger points on streets and in car parks without needing to make a planning application.

Healey said: "The people who want to ‘greenproof’ their homes should get a helping hand, not a stop sign.

"Our planning rules need to catch up with changing technologies and allow people to take the small measures that make big differences. Not only could this save up to hundreds of pounds in fuel bills, they will also help the environment.

The proposals outline how businesses and public buildings will be able to install renewable technologies which could lead to an increase in solar roofs at stadiums, schools and railway stations. Wind turbines up to 15m high would be permitted, in locations like industrial estates or agricultural areas where they would not become a nuisance to residents.