DO YOU NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR SOLAR PANELS OR OTHER MICRO-GENERATION EQUIPMENT?
Sustainability is at the forefront of much of our thinking these days and many of us are doing our bit to help. One way of helping the planet whilst also potentially saving some money on our energy bills at the same time is to install micro-generation equipment such as solar panels, heat pumps or wind turbines etc on our properties.
The good news is, that it is possible to install micro-generation equipment – such as solar panels without the need for planning permission, thanks to permitted development (PD) rights.
ON DOMESTIC PREMISES OR WITHIN THE CURTILAGE OF A HOUSE OR BLOCK OF FLATS
Planning permission is not normally required for the installation, alteration or replacement of solar photo-voltaics (PV) or solar thermal equipment on a dwellinghouse, or block of flats – or on a building situated within the curtilage (for example on a shed roof), subject to the following restrictions:
The solar PV or solar thermal equipment must not project any more than 200 millimetres from the wall or existing roof slope.
The highest part of the solar panel must not exceed the highest part of the existing roof (excluding any chimney).
In a conservation area or World Heritage Site, the equipment cannot be installed on a wall fronting a highway
CONDITIONS OF INSTALLATION OF SOLAR PANELS:
Solar panels or solar thermal equipment installed on a building shall, so far as practicable, be sited as to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the effect on the amenity of the area.
Any solar PV or solar thermal equipment no longer in use must be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
STAND-ALONE SOLAR PANELS – PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
Solar PV or solar thermal equipment which is not installed on building but is situated within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse or block of flats would not normally require a planning application, providing:
There will be no more than one stand-alone solar panel within the curtilage;
No part of the panel will exceed 4 metres in height above ground level;
The panel will not be situated within 5 metres of any boundary of the curtilage.
The surface area of the solar panel forming part of the stand alone solar will not exceed 9 square metres or any dimension of its array (including housing) will not exceed 3 metres in length.
CONDITIONS OF INSTALLATION:
The stand-alone solar shall, so far as practicable, be sited as to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area.
Any equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable when no longer needed.
GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMPS AND WATER SOURCE HEAT PUMPS ON DOMESTIC PREMISES
Planning Permission is not required for the installation, alteration or replacement of a ground source heat pump or water source heat pump within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse or block of flats.
(FORMING PART OF BIOMASS HEATING SYSTEMS AND COMBINED HEAT AND POWER SYSTEMS)
Planning permission is not normally required for the installation, alteration or replacement of a flue forming part of a biomass heating system or a combined heat and power system, on a dwellinghouse or block of flats, providing:
The height of the flue will not exceed the highest part of the roof by more than 1 metre or
In the case of a conservation or World Heritage Site the flue is not located on a wall fronting a highway
WIND TURBINES ON DOMESTIC PREMISES
Permitted development rights allow the installation, alteration or replacement of a wind turbine on domestic premises, but only in two limited circumstances:
On a house, if it is detached; or,
On a building within the curtilage of a detached house or a block of flats.
So if you have a stand-alone turbine, or are in a terraced or semi-detached house, you will need to apply for planning permission before installing your wind turbine. Different rules apply for stand-alone turbines (i.e. not attached to a building) within the curtilage (see below).
Permitted development rights for wind turbines only apply for the first turbine – any more than one and you will need a planning application. This is also the case if you already have an air source heat pump in place at the property.
There are also limitations on the size of the wind turbine permitted:
The highest part of the turbine, including blades should not protrude more than 3m above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) or exceed more than 15m in height, whichever is the lesser;
The distance between ground level and the lowest part of any blade of the wind turbine must be greater than 5 metres;
No part of the turbine should be within 5m of a boundary of the curtilage;
The swept area of any blade should not exceed 3.8 square metres;
In a conservation area, turbines should not be located on a roof slope which fronts a highway.
the blades of the wind turbine must be made of non-reflective materials;
the wind turbine must, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and so as to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area; and
the wind turbine must be removed as soon as reasonably practicable when no longer needed.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR STAND-ALONE WIND TURBINES AT DOMESTIC PREMISES
Slightly different requirements are placed upon stand-alone turbines located within the curtilage of a house or block of flats (i.e. they are not attached to a building). Additional to the above criteria:
the stand-alone wind turbine must comply with the MCS Planning Standards or equivalent standards.
the highest part of the stand-alone wind turbine cannot exceed 11.1 metres in height
no part of the stand-alone wind turbine (including blades) can be located in a position which is less than a distance equivalent to the overall height (including blades) of the stand-alone wind turbine plus 10% of its height when measured from any point along the boundary of the curtilage;
The rules as described apply only to domestic premises in England and may be different in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Different rights apply to non-domestic premises.
There may be conditions on a previous planning permission or other local restrictions, such as Article 4 Directions, which may limit or remove permitted development rights in some instances.
Note: permitted development rights do not apply where equipment is to be installed on or in the curtilage of a Listed Building or scheduled ancient monument.
And Finally …
PD rights are subject to change. The guide above is for general information only and does not constitute advice. Local and site-specific circumstances can differ and affect whether a planning application is needed.
Other consents (such as Building Regulations or notifications under the Party Wall Act) may also be needed.
To determine whether planning permission or other consents are required, seek professional advice or clarification from your local authority before starting works.
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