A friendly chap from the Reading counci Planning and Building Control department visited the wendy house today. He took photo’s of my sample PhotoVoltaic tile, copies of the installation drawings and photographs of my roof where I’d like the tiles placed. They will generate electricity for my home with enough left-over to sell back to the national grid.
He sucked his teeth and said that he wasn’t going to recommend that the tiles could be installed. He said it’s possible that someone higher-up the chain might value the ecological benefit over maintaining the look and feel of the local conservation area, but he didn’t think it was likely.
He will be putting this in writting after discussing it with colleagues. He gave me advice on how to re-attach crumbling ancient tiles without calling a roofer with a ladder and health and safety insurance. He didn’t look at my staircase of doom. He didnt put his head into the attic and see the crawl-space. His advice was well-meaning but impractical.
I used facebook to voice my disappointment. A heated little thread arose that included Dr. friend, who works as a government consultant specialist on environmental issues. Dr friend drafted a couple of letters for me to send to key MPs. Here’s one he drafted for the in-credible UK State secratary for Energy and Climate change:
Dear Mr Huhne,
I am writing to let you know about a problem I am having trying to reduce my carbon footprint and help increase the supply of renewable energy. Basically I am trying to get permission to install solar tiles on my roof (http://www.solarcentury.co.uk/homes/about-solar/c21e-solar-tiles-and-slates/). Everything I hear both the government and my local council say about the urgency of the climate change issue makes me think that I should be being actively encouraged in doing this sort of thing. However, because I live in a conservation area (i.e. one where almost all of the houses are old and therefore very energy inefficient) my local council is saying that that they will not let me have these fitted. How is it that the government can all a minor issue such as the aesthetics of roofing tiles prevent people from making important upgrades to their homes in order to reduce both their carbon footprint and their reliance on an extremely volatile energy market.
Can you provide me with any details of what your Department is doing in order to ensure that the Department for Communities and Local Government are taking this issue on board. As far as I can tell, the current localism agenda is going to make it even harder for the government to encourage and support householders like me to do my bit.
Quality stuff, for free, because of facebook chatter. Excellent!
I’ll be adapting it to provide details of my location and council and copying it to the local council so they know what i’m up to. Feel free to use this yourselves if you have similar challenges