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News: Edinburgh homeowners to get wind turbine right

Edinburgh’s green city planners are tearing away red tape and will allow homeowners to put up wind turbines and other energy efficient devices without any planning permission.

The plans will be brought into force next May over all of the city except for conservation areas and even here there will be a presumption of approval.

Anyone living in a tenement or property with shared responsibility for roof or building repairs would need the agreement of their neighbours to install a turbine or solar panel.

Conservationists fear for the city's heritage site status, but a newspaper poll found 74% of residents wanted to make Edinburgh the ‘greenest city’, while only 16% was concerned about the appearance of the city.

City planning leader councillor Trevor Davies said the changes would make it easier for residents to convert their properties to cleaner energy. "We are removing the need for planning permission for micro-renewable energy, except in conservation areas where we will want to check its design, he said.

But the high cost and unlikely payback within a sensible timescale may mean a limited number of people will actually erect systems except perhaps those prepared to DIY it or those concerned to show a green front.  

However, new demands are also to be placed upon house builders. All developments of more than ten homes, whether new build or conversion, will have to generate a minimum of 10% of their energy from renewable sources on site. The council may also demand all new developments of any significant size generate up to 20% of their energy from renewable sources.

Cllr Davies added: "We can't compel people in existing homes to do it, but we can compel people who are building new homes to do it, and that is what we are doing.

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