Sir Terry Leahy has called for a planning shake-up to facilitate the erection of wind turbines on stores.

In a speech to the Green City Initiative, a summit held to address environmental issues in business, the Tesco chief executive said gaining permission for turbines needed to be "easier and faster" if retailers were to be encouraged to make stores greener.

"The speed of investment in new technology is being held back by the time it takes to get planning permission," he claimed.

Currently, retailers wanting to put turbines on the roof of stores or depots have to apply for permission through the regular planning system - even though the impact of turbines is often negligible and they can cut energy consumption substantially.

Sir Terry also demanded the government use business rates and incentives to support investment by companies in low-carbon technologies. This view was endorsed by the BRC, which this week called on turbines and solar panels to be exempt from the rateable value of a property. Sir Terry said policymakers and business should "take seriously the idea of emissions caps and trading mechanisms".

But he warned there was a shortage of skilled environmental staff.

"We don't have enough technicians in the UK trained to work on low-carbon technology," he said. "Government needs to work with industry to tackle this skills gap."

Sir Terry's speech on Monday came on the same day as addresses on green issues by Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The Chancellor gave a wide-ranging speech to an event organised by environmental think-tank the Green Alliance in which he touched on themes as diverse as global emissions trading and the recent agreement struck with retailers to reduce the environmental impact of carrier bag usage.

Cameron, who like Sir Terry was speaking to the Green City Initiative, focused on ways of curbing the environmental impact of air travel.

The speeches came a day before the government published its Climate Change Bill, which proposes legally binding targets for cutting the UK's carbon emissions.