Practical Action Needed on Climate Change

23 November 2005

Boris Johnson MP: Practical Action Needed on Climate Change

Speaking in yesterdays Climate Change Opposition Day Debate, Boris Johnson MP called on the Government to match its climate change rhetoric with action by removing planning restrictions, unaltered since 1995, governing the installation of rooftop solar panels.

Arguing in favour of increasing the energy efficiency of our nation’s housing stock as one of the most cost effective ways of reducing our consumption of energy and carbon dioxide emissions Mr Johnson outlined:

A single policy initiative, which I am sure will meet universal approval among Labour Members and my hon. Friends …For an outlay of £3000 Mrs. Anley (of Sonning Common) can add to her roof a wonderful panel by which she can heat her water. It is a photovoltaic pump. She assures me – I have no reason to doubt her, since I have taken the trouble to look up her plans on the internet – that she can reduce her carbon emissions by half a tonne of Co2 a year and that she can supply up to 70 per cent of her hot water needs in doing so. The kicker is that she has to get planning permission …

Mr Johnson pointed out that:

The device that Mrs Anley seeks to install is only 2ft by 4ft and only 8cm thick, but to get planning permission, she must pay a non-negotiable flat fee of £135. She must then get an architectural artist to produce drawings of her house, which, as you will readily appreciate, Mr Deputy Speaker, will push her costs well over £200 … I look forward to hearing later that he (the Minister) is going to do a little bit more than set up a committee in the DTI to clarify matters, because this needs to be done urgently, and he is the man to do it.

Solar panels currently fall into Class C (roof alterations), of Schedule 2, Article 3, Part 1 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

11 thoughts on “Practical Action Needed on Climate Change”

  1. Why are there not turbines in every weir along the Thames, providing energy for street lighting, etc?

    It’s been bugging me for years…but can i get anyone to listen?

    Reality, too much money is being made by energy companies. Do you really think they want you to use LESS of their product? Do they want you to have a well-insulated, self-powered eco-home? Do you really want to deprive the fatcats of their multi-million pound bonuses? You can be sure of one thing…they will fight you every bit of the way.

    Angry now. Must stop typing, or my language will become unacceptable!

  2. What a brilliant idea Psimon!

    If only this government would invest in THIS country intead of invading other peoples.

    Wasn’t London using hydraulic power before mains electricity? Just goes to show that fantastic things can be achieved with vision and investment. I think more consideration of available, traditional and safer resources of energy should be considered before the (utterly stupid) nuclear option.

  3. Quite correctly, the damage to the poor energy producers resulting from those selfishly wishing to generate their own electricity has already been pointed out above, but lets not forget the biggest victim. Gordon Brown, already reeling from the prospects of a smoking ban, needs all the tax he can get. Increased binge drinking may help, but energy taxes must be preserved at all costs.

  4. I remember a person who bought a farm out in Dorset, it had a stream running through it and a (non-working) water wheel, with rights to use it.
    At his own expense he renovated it and fitted it to a generator — and then the CEGB came down on him. Apparently even though he was miles from the nearest substation he wasn’t allowed to generate his own electricity from a renewable resource, he had to buy theirs.
    So they (at taxpayer expense) had to put in cables and build a substation just for his property so that they could sell him electricity from a source he didn’t want.
    Can you say “protectionism”? I don’t think much has changed, they give lip-service to the idea of renewable resources but try to do anything and it costs even more.
    (Of course fuel is the same, if we all just cut our consumption by 2% the treasury would be in trouble, that’s what Gordon Brown said would happen if he took 2% off the tax…)

  5. I’m sorry this is off topic, but Boris you made a huge mistake in your Telegraph piece today.

    You are giving support to the White Phosphorus story, which is nothing more than a piece of propaganda by the anti war left.

    Read the Daily Ablution, it picks the story to pieces.

  6. I am all in favour of green technology. However, we need to look at some of these issues with a cool calculating eye.

    If something costs

  7. Chris C, are things really that bad, it’s illegal to generate ones own electricity? Now that I come to think of it, haven’t the health and Safety fascists just introduced the death penalty for those who do any electrical work to their properties. I thought, as a safety measure, this was a necessary evil, but I forgot the sole purpose for my existence was to consume and be taxed.

  8. The problem with energy production, aside from the costs, is that physically it is impossible. No process can in practice be 100% efficient. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle with a generator attached will appreciate that there’s no such thing as a renewable energy source! Things like wind generators are fine, because although they do indeed slow down the air as it turns them, the sheer volume of air involved is so large that the difference is negligible. However, if generators lined the Thames, I have a strong suspicion that the current would slow, and depending on the number of generators possibly quite dramatically. Either the banks and bridges would have to be raised, or the river widened, and either way I suspect the chances of london flooding would increase.

  9. On the subject of flooding London, I’ve always been amused by “The houses of parliament” being an anagram of “loonies far up the thames”.

    As to the “Slowing the current” issue, the multiple water mills along the length of the Thames don’t seem to do that.

    As to the bio-fuels approach, i’m all for that too. The important thing is to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, and using ALL the alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear energy makes excellent sense.

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