The UK government is planning to cut the red tape surrounding planning rules for installing green technology devices such as wind turbines and solar panels for UK businesses, so that it is much easier for them to become powered by renewable energy.

At present, businesses must submit a planning application that can cost about GBP1,500 and take up to eight to 16 weeks to be considered by councils, with no guarantee that it will be approved, if they want to install green energy devices.

However, the UK government has asked environmental and planning consultancy Entec to draw up new planning rules that will ensure that the system is doing more to encourage the use of renewable energy. The research will look at removing barriers to installing small-scale renewable and low carbon technology equipment that can currently lead to increased costs and lengthy delays.

Entec will investigate how renewable energy equipment can be included as ‘permitted developments,’ which means the changes can be made without the need for specific planning permission, as long as there is clearly no impact on others or the local environment.

The UK’s communities secretary, Hazel Blears, said: This research will be crucial to working out how we can support the business world to do its bit, as we move to a zero-carbon culture.

The government said that commercial buildings account for 18% of carbon emissions, but that this figure could be reduced with the help of renewable energy devices. The technologies will also help businesses to lower their fuel bills.