A petition has been launched urging UK environment secretary Elizabeth Truss to consider copying new French regulation regarding solar rooftops.

In March France passed a new decree requiring all new buildings built in commercial zones to be partially covered in either vegetation or solar panels as part of the country’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Jeremy Parker of the campaign group 38 Degrees started the petition on the 38 Degrees website urging Defra to do the same and it has received more than 3,000 signatures – 75% of its target – within its first week.

Parker, who is also a member of the Green Party, said he was inspired to start the petition after one calling on UK supermarkets to donate leftover fresh food to charities instead of disposing it, again triggered by new legislation in France, resulted in Tesco changing its policy.

“I knew that if I reacted quickly and started this petition, perhaps that could catch on as well,” Parker said.

The petition has gained traction through being promoted on 38 Degrees and has circulated on social media sites this week, and Parker now thinks it could far exceed its initial aim of 4,000 signatures.

“I’m hoping maybe that if a couple of national bodies got behind it then it may pass 10,000, and that’s what we’re hoping for,” he added.

The petition can be found here.