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Planning Information

Installing certain renewable energy technologies, such as solar thermal, photovoltaic and biomass boilers, has now been made a lot simpler thanks to Permitted Development Rights introduced on 6th April 2008 in England, and 12th March 2009 in Scotland. These were further extended to cover the noise limits in England for air source heat pumps and wind turbines on December 6th 2011.

Always check with your local authority to find out if you require planning permission or not, the information on this page is for guidance only.

Permitted Development Rights

In England and Scotland, changes to permitted development rights for renewable technologies have lifted the requirements for planning permission for most domestic microgeneration technologies.

The General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), or the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Domestic Microgeneration) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 grants rights to carry out certain limited forms of development on the home, without the need to apply for planning permission. The scope of the GPDO in England and the TCP (GPD) in Scotland now extends to the following technologies :

  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Solar Thermal
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps
  • Biomass

The following technologies are covered under The General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) for noise levels under 42dB (please refer to MCS 020 Planning Standard):

  • Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Wind Turbines

Permitted Development and planning policy in general is a devolved responsibility. Recent changes to legislation has seen the Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland Government to allow permitted developments rights for some microgeneration technology installations. It is however, advised to consult with your local authority regarding planning permission for any proposed installations.

Your installer will be able to provide advice on this.

Planning Tip

The companion guide to Planning Policy Statement 22 on Renewable Energy recommends that if you are intending to install a small hydro system for example, that you make early contact with the developer, planning authorities, the Environment Agency and statutory consultees, such as Natural England to ensure that all statutory remits are met.

To help you with this process, a tool – the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) – has been developed. The PPA is a framework agreed between a local planning authority and a planning applicant for the management of complex development proposals within the planning process.

The benefit of the PPA is that it allows both the developer and the local planning authority to agree a project plan and programme, which ensures that the planning application is committed to a firm timetable, and one which is unconstrained by a 13-week target. It will also make clear, in advance, what will be required of each party.


Permitted developments:

The UK Planning Portal’s interactive house provides an overview of planning permission and building regulations for householders:

The UK Planning Portal’s Greener Homes section, which is supported by the Energy Saving Trust, can also assist as an informal guide to planning: which is supported by the Energy Saving Trust can also assist as an informal guide to planning.