Swindon Borough Council has been recognised for being the first in the UK to use planning measures known as Local Development Orders (LDOs) to encourage low carbon generation.
The Low Carbon LDO forms part of the Borough’s strategy to meet the national target of sourcing 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.
Despite having many energy intensive industries in the area, Swindon’s share of renewable energy in 2014 was just five percent. Under the LDO, 29 sites are being scrutinised by the Borough’s planning department such as supermarket carparks, motorway sidings and railway embankments to be granted with temporary planning permission for renewables for 30 years.
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “Swindon Borough Council should be praised and congratulated for leading the way in addressing the need to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. More renewable energy in the UK means low greenhouse gas emissions, less reliance on energy imports and more jobs.
“By speeding up the planning process for suitable sites, Swindon facilitates the rollout for renewable energy in the right locations, which not only helps fight climate change but also creates local employment and an uplift in business rates. If adopted Swindon would be a model for Councils across the country.”