Caroline Flint announces domestic solar panels will no longer need planning permission

Planning permission will no longer be required for domestic solar panels and photovoltaics following changes to the planning regulations announced by planning minister Caroline Flint.

The changes, which come into force on 6 April, have been introduced to encourage the uptake of microgeneration technologies by householders.

Flint said: "We want to make it easier to help people reduce their carbon footprint. Technology like solar panels can make a real difference, but homeowners can be put off by the time and expense of getting planning permission. We think it is right that people have more freedom to make these changes providing it has no impact on others".

The amendments allow for the installation of solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, ground and water source heat pumps, biomass heating and combined heath and power systems on or within the curtilage of the dwelling house.

The government is also looking to allow free-standing and building-mounted wind turbines on detached properties, and air source heat pumps to be installed without planning permission, but has to await clearance from the European Commission. It expects this to happen later in 2008.