The statement comes after an altercation in Derbyshire. Image: Getty.
The statement comes after an altercation in Derbyshire. Image: Getty.

Solar Energy UK has stated that “planning rules have become uneven and unfair” for installing solar panels.

A statement released by the organisation highlights an altercation that occurred in Derbyshire when a local resident installed solar panels on her roof. According to the BBC, it is alleged that Mary Smail, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, applied to her local council to gain planning permission to install solar panels.

However, the council replied stating that there was “no chance of it being granted due to the historic nature of the area”. It is then believed that “she installed them anyway while the council was considering her application and applied retrospectively for permission, which was refused”.

Derbyshire Dales District Council obtained a court injunction to remove the solar panels alongside threats that she could be jailed for two years if she did not comply. The solar panels are now in the process of being taken down, Solar Energy UK said.

Solar Energy UK stated: “The root of the issue is that Ms Smail’s home is both in a conservation area and is a Grade II listed building. Under current rules, both listed building consent and planning permission would be needed to make the installation lawful, though this does not apply everywhere.”

Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK provided his verdict on the situation. He said: “While Ms Smail’s actions were unwise, the rules that led to this situation make not a jot of sense and offer no public benefit.

“We strongly encourage the government to implement recently proposed reforms to permitted development rights, so that people like Ms Smail will be able to enjoy the same benefits that solar now gives to over 1.2 million UK households: cutting bills, cutting emissions and avoiding burdens on over-stretched planning departments.”