November 27, 2012
As we brace ourselves for more rain and with parts of the country still on flood alert, others are dealing with the deluge of damage caused by the recent floods. Here are our tips on what to do if you live in an area at risk and find that flood water may be heading your way …
It is important to collect key documentation in a safe place upstairs. This includes insurance documents and helpline numbers, plus personal telephone book for relatives and friends, and a local directory for contacting tradesmen and the emergency services. You may also like to ensure passports and driving documents are safeguarded as well as bank, mortgage and credit card details.
Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Unplug all electrical items and store upstairs. If possible cover doors, windows and airbricks with plywood, metal sheeting or sandbags, which may be available from your local council. Take as many items of furniture and precious possessions as possible upstairs.
Where possible take photographs of your rooms. This will not only provide evidence to support any claim, but will remind you of what you have lost.
It is vital to keep abreast of the latest flood warnings and weather forecasts either via the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or television and radio broadcasts. The Environment Agency also operates a Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flood warnings.
November 1, 2012
The new feed-in tarrif (FiT) rates for solar photovoltaic technology have become effective as of today
The rates were confirmed by Ofgem earlier in the year and represent the first round of FiT cuts enacted under the newly introducted tri-monthly degression model.
The new rates show that the residential FiT was cut by just over a penny to 15.44p/kWh from 16.5p/kWh while the commercial FiT was cut by less than half a penny to 13.1p/kWh from 13.5p/kWh. For larger businesses, the rate of 11.5p/kWh remains unchanged.
However, with recent electricity price hikes, these cuts will make the return on investment from solar projects higher than it was a month ago. Latest figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change reveal that the UK installed 747.586MW of solar under the FiT scheme in the first nine months of 2012.
June 1, 2012
The Government announced plans that are designed to provide long term sustainability for the FITs scheme and better value for money for consumers, allowing customers and businesses to plan their investments with confidence.The key points include:
- A tariff of 16p/kWh will take effect from 1
- Increasing the export tariff to 4.5p/kWh for new installations (from 3.2p/kWh)
- Reducing the tariff lifetime from 25 to 20 years for new PV installations.
- Multi-installation tariff set at 90% of the standard generation tariff, rather than 80% as at the moment, reflecting latest evidence on the costs of such projects.
- New tariffs will still provide rates of return of over 6% for typical installations, which makes solar PV a very attractive investment.
- New cost control mechanism will reduce solar PV tariffs automatically in line with deployment.
- Degression can occur every three months however the rate of degression is dependent on the volume of deployment
- If deployment has been low, then degression can be skipped.
Please click here to read a full summary from DECC.
May 4, 2012
The UK solar industry is today anticipating the future feed-in tariff rates as we move from the month of April into May. After Government announced it’s intention to base the new rates on installation figures seen between March 3 and the end of April 2012, all eyes have been on the FiT database.
read more on this article at the Solar Power Portal
April 30, 2012
Despite the severe weather conditions and flood warnings, the current position remains of extreme concern relating to water resources across wide areas of the English Lowlands.
Drought situations are undoubtedly a contributing factor in tree related subsidence of low rise buildings, especially in areas of clay soil.
Changes in weather patterns coupled with long periods of dry weather can cause tree roots to extract moisture from deep within the soil leading to shrinkage which results in a downward shift of a building’s foundations.
Tree roots can also find their way into underground drainage systems causing damage resulting in defective / leaking drains which in turn causes soil erosion beneath a building’s foundations.
If you’re thinking of planting any new trees you need to think carefully before selecting species. The broad leaf types tend to cause more damage than evergreens because of the amount of moisture they require.
Here’s a helpful guide with planting distances, if unsure, as a general rule, plant any new trees the same distance away from your house as their expected mature height.
|Tree Species||Mature Height (m)||Safe Distance (m)|
If you think your property may be suffering from subsidence as a result of overgrown vegetation, call us now on 0800 027 5130 for free, friendly advice!
April 27, 2012
Plunging house prices have triggered a new negative equity crisis, with the North bearing a far greater burden than the South.
12% of homeowners in the North have negative equity, 6% higher than national average
Hundreds of thousands more families have become trapped in the nightmare of having a mortgage bigger than the value of their home over the last 18 months.
The report, from the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s, said 3.6 per cent of mortgage-holders were in ‘negative equity’ during the spring of 2010. By the end of last year, the number had risen to 5.6 per cent.
Read more from the Mail Online
April 16, 2012
Thousands of households that agreed to rent their roofs to solar panel companies, in return for free electricity, could find their properties are unsaleable. It has emerged that lenders have begun to turn down mortgage applications from homeowners who are signed up to such schemes.
According to a story in Guardian Money, owners of such properties are being turned down for remortgages, which suggests that prospective purchasers of such properties are also likely to be rejected.
Guardian Money was contacted by a Southampton couple who were refused by several companies when they tried to remortgage, even though their existing mortgage provider, RBS, apparently agreed to the scheme.
Applications for a remortgage have been apparently turned down by Skipton and Nationwide, although RBS has offered them a mortgage on the basis that it approved the solar installation.
The couple are now worried they won’t be able to sell if potential buyers also struggle to find a loan.
March 30, 2012
From April 6 this year planning permission will no-longer be required to install solar PV or solar thermal on non-domestic buildings. The new rules will also mean that ground-mounted systems up to 9m2 will be able to go ahead without a planning application.
The new regulations, which are coming into affect by an amendment to Permitted Development Rights (PDRs), will have a great impact on the requirements for planning for retrofits on commercial and agricultural buildings. Those who were held back, or forced to cancel projects due to the delays planning caused when the feed-in tariff changes were going through, will no longer face such restrictions.
read more on this at the solarpowerportal
March 22, 2012
Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made an astonishing, and unexpected, announcement that will affect a significant number of owners of listed properties in the UK.
In short, the VAT relief that currently applies to alterations to listed buildings is being withdrawn with effect from 1 October 2012. The Chancellor described the existing relief as an ‘anomaly’, which “gives a perverse incentive for change as opposed to repair”. He also considers that the majority of the work covered by the relief consists of “extension work which is not necessary for heritage”. Admittedly, extensions currently qualify for VAT relief at present, but it does not give a true picture of the type of work that owners carry out, and which frequently qualify for relief.
March 7, 2012
Solar powered electronics and solar panels mounted near the sea attract seagulls. Their droppings interfere with solar panel operation, creating a shadow which blocks the cell and stops the sunlight getting through, thus reducing efficiency and results in expensive maintenance. If cells are left blocked for a long period of time this can ultimately kill the cell and cause permanent damage to the panel.
For those of you with solar panels who live by the sea and get a lot of seagulls on your roof, other than expensive seagull deterrent systems, here are some ideas for solar panel array protection:-
- Stop seagulls landing / resting by installing very fine netting
- Install sonic bird scarers
- Train a hawk !
- Get a cat
At-Bristol have enlisted the help of a robotic peregrine falcon called ‘Brian’ to keep the seagulls off their roof and protect their brand new solar panel array.
You can follow Brian’s progress including his daily ‘tweets’ at :-
If you too are pestered by seagulls messing up your solar panels and have any suggestions for seagull control, get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org