Local authorities are to be told to put tackling climate change at the heart of their physical planning decisions -- including for renewable energy projects and micro generation -- under the government's latest policy proposals for siting permit applications. In its draft planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change, the Department of Communities and Local Government instructs local authorities to consider allocating sites for renewables and low carbon generation and to look favourably on renewable energy proposals even on sites not in a development zone. It also says authorities should not demand applicants to demonstrate the need for renewable energy or for a project or their choice of site. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) calls this a long overdue measure. The PPS also says that new large housing or other developments should gain a significant proportion of their energy from on-site renewables. "It is now imperative that it is quickly communicated to planning authorities and climate change is truly placed at the heart of the planning system," says BWEA's Chris Tomlinson. He adds that 2007 is the critical year for renewables in the UK. Unless onshore wind capacity is consented within the year, it will not be in time to meet the UK's 2010 renewable energy target.
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