Harrow is in the process of drawing up a list of green planning regulations, ranging from putting a stop to people concreting over front gardens for car parking to using recycled and sustain-able building materials, installing wind turbines, insulating homes properly, turning to low-emission boilers, installing solar water-heating systems or simply using low-energy lighting. The checklist could come into force this summer and failure to comply could be grounds for refusing big planning applications.
'Some of the suggestions are pretty simple and cost-neutral'
Councillor Marilyn Ashton explained: “The council is committed to improving the sustain-ability for homes and businesses. Every resident can play a role.” Once it is agreed, the list for “guidance” will be sent out with all applications.
Chris Wilson of PRP Architects, which specialises in green schemes, said the new rules would help focus people’s minds on green issues. “It is spreading information and making people think. Some of these suggestions are pretty simple and cost-neutral, such as using low-energy light bulbs and sustainable wood. You can get low-flow bathroom and kitchen fittings anywhere.
“But the council has to be sensible. It is fine for a local authority to say that it only wants sustainable timber to be used — that sends out a strong message. If it starts asking people to put £15,000-worth of solar electrics on the roof when all someone wants to do is a loft conversion, then that is not sensible.”