Milton Keynes Council to review policy on solar panel returns

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Solar panel on house
There is currently no legislation in place to protect solar panels affected by new developments

Calls by homeowners to protect their solar panels against the potential impact of neighbours’ extensions have prompted a review of planning policy.

There is currently no legislation to protect residents who have invested in panels in the expectation of financial returns. 

Milton Keynes Council is to examine planning rules after objections in a recent case.

Councillors said the issue was “very worth looking at”.

A cabinet meeting on Tuesday of the Labour-run authority heard how a planning application to make a house in Two Mile Ash 70 per cent bigger had highlighted a potential planning loophole.

The application, which was approved in December, was not considered overdevelopment but neighbours complained it would reduce the efficiency of their solar panels, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

‘Time, effort and money’

At the meeting, Conservative Keith McLean called for planners to review the policy on new-builds and extensions.

“If you put up solar panels and someone next to it decides to have an extension that shades them, the investment you have made will be reduced – not necessarily totally removed but you won’t get the savings or the returns to the grid of any electricity that would be created,” he said.

Robin Bradburn, a Liberal Democrat, agreed it was an “interesting case” and said the objectors had spent “a lot of time, effort and money” putting in solar panels.

“They were concerned it was going to be negated,” he said. “It’s very worth looking at to see how we go forward from that.”

Mick Legg, the Cabinet member responsible for customer services, said council officers had already discussed the issue but needed to have “a deeper look into it”.

Source: BCC News