On the sunny side of the street

Citing McLennan, R v Medway Council & Anor [2019], an inspector has rejected an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a roof extension on a terrace house in north London on the grounds that it would restrict light to solar panels on a neighbouring property (DCS Number 400-035-543).

The inspector set out that in Medway it was established that “interference with the solar panels is a material planning consideration…. in addressing, (however modestly, on an individual scale), issues of climate change”. The case further established, the inspector explained “..that mitigation of climate change is a legitimate planning consideration in the public interest and that even individual microgeneration schemes are in the public interest. The case also establishes that, even though the Framework and planning policy may deal essentially with new development, it would be illogical to regard climate change as suddenly becoming immaterial, once the development had taken place.”

The parties accepted, the inspector noted, that the proposed roof extension to the appeal property would have some impact on the ability of the solar collectors on the neighbouring property to operate, with consequent impacts on the delivery of renewable energy to the property, and in a small way adversely affect the mitigation of climate change. He accepted that the extent of the impact might be limited. However, given the rapidly developing climate emergency and the failure of the appellant to propose any renewable generation scheme of his own which could both mitigate the loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the significantly enlarged appeal property in accordance with national and local policies, he attached significant weight to the issue. 

The appeal was dismissed.

There is a section on solar power at 26.536 of DCP Online.