The government says it is slashing the current red tape around planning permission for solar panels under new rules announced last week

Changes to permitted development rights rules will allow more homeowners and businesses to install solar panels on their roofs without having to go through the planning system.

Under the new rules, homes with flat roofs will be able to install panels without planning permission.

And current rules that require businesses to apply for planning if their solar panels will generate more than one megawatt of electricity will also be scrapped, allowing businesses to install more panels more easily.

This will avoid the current ‘costly planning delays’ on solar panels, with applicants having to wait more than eight weeks, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The DLUHC says the move will drive down energy bills for homeowners and businesses that install solar panels, as well as driving down emissions to support the government’s net zero commitments.

Housing and planning minister Lee Rowley said: ‘By cutting red tape in the planning system we can make sure homeowners and businesses can install solar panels without being held up by costly delays.

‘Crucially, these permitted development rights are still subject to important conditions, including their use in conservation areas.’

The minister for energy security and net zero, Graham Stuart, said: ‘Removing the 1MW restriction for industrial rooftop solar will help us meet our target of 70GW of solar power by 2035 while supporting hundreds of long-term skilled British jobs, bolstering our world-leading renewables sector and reducing bills for consumers with panels.’

The government has said that, where possible, already developed land should be used for solar panels. The changes will also make it easier for panels to be installed in canopies above car park so long as they are over 10m away from homes.

The government said the new rules were in line with its commitment to speed up the planning system and slash bureaucracy, as outlined by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his autumn statement last month.

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