‘Green’ town hall tells home owner to pull down solar panels powering her home

A Hampstead home owner is battling an order by self-styled “green” Camden Council to pull down solar panels which help to power her house.

Cat Santos spent �20,000 installing four solar panels on her home in South Hill Park to provide enough energy to heat water all year round.

Despite having planning permission for the panels planning officials have told the 51-year-old to remove two of them because they are “unsightly” two years after they were put up.

Mrs Santos, who owns a T-shirt printing business in Kentish Town, has enlisted the help of Camden’s Green Party to fight the order.

She said: “I was pretty pissed off when they issued us with an enforcement notice.

“There have been controversial basement works along this road that are much worse for the environment and here. It comes down to how green do you want people to be?”

A spokesman for the council said Mrs Santos had been given permission to install the panels on the back of her home, but not the front where two of them currently sit.

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Camden’s Green party Cllr Maya De Souza said: “It’s a shame because she is trying to do something quite positive and the response has been very negative.

“The council should work with people and try and find solutions rather than just saying take those down.”

Cllr Valerie Leach, cabinet member for planning, said: “While Camden Council has a strong track record in supporting renewable energy sources and actively encouraging the use of solar panels, we also have a duty to protect the borough’s unique character.

“The council provides guidance on solar panel installations and we need to ensure this is followed, particularly in conservation areas.

“We take action to protect these areas and are currently in discussions with residents about this.”

Last week the council published its annual review of its environment policy which said the borough had cut its CO2 emissions by two per cent between 2005 and 2010.

Town hall chiefs want to cut another eight per cent in the next two years.