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Campaigners force councils to back down

Renewable energy campaigners today claimed victory in their fight to end the chaos surrounding the installation of solar panels on homes and businesses.

Following a three month campaign, leading renewable energy company Eco Environments has received confirmation from Eden District Council that it will no longer require people to apply for building regulations as long as their chosen installer is a member of the Government’s Competent Person Scheme.

Eco Environments said that a revised document published by the Communities and Local Government Department made it clear that councils were wrong to insist on such regulations.

The campaign was launched after Eco Environments received reports from homeowners that they were routinely being asked to apply and pay for building regulations applications.

Eco Environments quickly won the backing of Shadow Energy Ministers Huw Irranca-Davies and Luciana Berger and the local MP Rory Stewart. Within a matter of days, Government Energy Minister Greg Barker pledged to take the matter up with the Communities and Local Government Department.

During the campaign, other local authorities, including West Lancashire Council, were exposed as using similar tactics with homeowners and businesses looking to sign up to renewable energy technologies.

David Hunt, a director with Eco Environments which has offices across the UK, said: “We are delighted that Eden District Council has written to us confirming that it will no longer demand that our customers apply for building regulations.

“The Government’s revised documents make it crystal clear that customers using companies such as our own, which are members of the Competent Person Scheme, can allow us to self-certify all aspects of installation including roof structure.

“While it is a great shame that a number of customers have had to suffer unnecessary stress and financial costs during the flouting of Government guidance, it is a huge step forward that councils such as Eden District are now telling us they are happy to comply.”

Cathy Debenham, founder of renewable energy champion You Gen, said: “I am delighted that this campaign launched by Eco Environments and supported by ourselves has proved so successful. This hard fought victory will hopefully benefit the renewable energy industry as a whole.”

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Comments (1)

Hugh Norris on 9th August 2011

A common sense decision by the council concerned! People need all the help they can with their power bills. Instead of the government spending billions on gas and nuclear (waste disposal) why not give people grants towards self-sufficiency?