Councilor Cadogan Enright has welcomed as “long overdue” this week’s announcement by the Department of the Environment that schools, businesses and farm buildings will no longer need planning permission for solar panels. The improvements will come into operation on 30 April 2013 and follow on from permitted development rights previously introduced for the installation of domestic solar panels on homes.
Cllr Enright said, “Environmentalists, businesspeople and farmers concerned with the future of Northern Irelands economy have been campaigning on this for years. I have entries on my campaigning website website going back to 2007 looking for these changes, see .www.enright.ie/policies/renewables. These changes are long overdue and the local economy has been damaged by bad policy making, civil service incompetence and Ministerial ignorance in this area for years past.”
The changes affect microgeneration equipment like photovoltaic panels which generate electricity or solar panels that generate heat from sunlight. Business and other non-domestic properties such as schools can install micro-generation equipment up to 50kw output, including solar panels, biomass boiler housing and fuel stores and ground and water source heat pumps.
“No longer needing planning permission will make it easier for businesses and other non-domestic properties to install renewable energy technologies. I am currently involved in supporting several local constituency projects of this kind. The biggest is a proposal for a 40kw installation at the Ballyhornan Family Centre, which if successful will make more than 20 years of financial contribution to the Ballyhornan community.” Continued Cllr Cadogan Enright
“It is frustrating to think that all these years have been wasted by successive Environment Ministers, some of whom have even denied the existence of climate change and shut down incentives in N.I. that were available in other parts of the UK. More than one pound in every 20 is spent on energy in Down. They have delayed the day when the people of Down District could keep our money in the local economy, rather than sending it to Russia, Nigeria, unsavory regimes in the Middle East of to Westminster in taxes.” Concluded Cllr Enright