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Householder energy savings

Find out if you need planning permission for solar panels, heat pumps, wall insulation or electric vehicle charge points.

Air source heat pumps

Do I need planning permission?

Air source heat pumps or heat pumps extract heat from the air to heat your home. These can be installed, altered or replaced on a residential property without planning permission provided that all the limits and conditions listed below are met. This includes:

  • houses
  • blocks of flats (blocks cannot contain any commercial premises)
  • land or building within the curtilage of a house or block of flats (such as a garden and a shed)

Limits to be met:

  • Development is permitted only if the air source heat pump installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standards (MCS 020)
  • The volume of the air source heat pump’s outdoor compressor unit (including housing) must not exceed 0.6 cubic metres
  • Only the first installation of an air source heat pump would be permitted development, and only if there is no existing wind turbine on a building or within the curtilage of that property. Additional wind turbines or air source heat pumps at the same property require an application for planning permission
  • All parts of the air source heat pump must be at least one metre from the property boundary
  • Installations on pitched roof are not permitted development. If installed on a flat roof all parts of the air source heat pump must be at least one metre from the external edge of that roof
  • Permitted development rights do not apply for installations within the curtilage of a listed building or within a site designated as a Scheduled Monument
  • On land within a conservation area the air source heat pump must not be installed on a wall or roof which fronts a highway or be nearer to any highway that bounds the property than any part of the building
  • On land that is not within a conservation area, the air source heat pump must not be installed on any part of a wall above the level of the ground floor storey if that wall fronts a highway
  • The external unit cannot protrude more than 1 metre from the outer wall or roof of the building

Please note that these ‘permitted development’ rights can be removed by a planning condition, an ‘Article 4 Direction’ or other restriction. In addition, the air source heat pump must be:

  • used solely for heating purposes (space heating and hot water)
  • sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building
  • sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area
  • removed as soon as reasonably practicable when it is no longer needed for microgeneration

Please contact the Council pre-planning application advice should you need to discuss whether all of these limits and conditions will be met.

External wall insulation

Do I need planning permission?

External wall insulation is when the exterior of a building is clad with insulating materials.

You will need planning permission if:

  • the insulation extends beyond your property boundary
  • you live in a conservation area
  • you live in a listed building (listed building consent will also be required)
  • you live in a flat

In addition to the above, if the proposed cladding will significantly change the colour or texture of the house you should seek the advice of the Council before you proceed via our pre-planning application advice.

Electric vehicle charge points

Do I need planning permission?

If your home has off-street parking it is likely that the installation of an home charger will not need planning permission provided it meets the following:

When installing an electrical charging outlet (with any exterior casing) must not:

  • exceed 0.2 cubic metres
  • face onto and be within two metres of a highway
  • be within a site designated as a scheduled monument
  • be within the curtilage of a listed building.

When installing an upstand with a mounted electrical charging outlet, the upstand and outlet must not:

  • exceed 1.6 metres in height from the level of the surface used for the parking of vehicles where within the curtilage of a dwelling/house or block of flats (or exceed 2.3 metres in height from the level of the surface used for the parking of vehicles in any other case)
  • be within two metres of a highway
  • be within a site designated as a scheduled monument
  • be within the curtilage of a listed building
  • result in more than one upstand being provided for each parking space

In all cases, when the electrical charge point is no longer required, the wall (on which the outlet was mounted) or the land (on which the upstand was placed) must be returned to its previous as soon as possible.

Before carrying out any work you should check with the Council whether the site is in a conservation area or in the curtilage of a listed building where different, more strict rules will apply.

If you need further advice you are recommended to use our pre-planning application advice.

You will need planning permission in these circumstances.

Planning permission is usually required for:

  • for on-street parking
  • for conservation area or listed building
  • where the installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargers is restricted, e.g. if an “Article 4 direction” is in place
  • where there will be more than one upstand per parking space

Creating a successful application for an electric vehicle charge point. To increase your chances of approval when submitting a planning application you should ensure that your development minimises impact on the visual context of the local area. You can make the charge point discreet and unobtrusive through placing it around the side of your house, on a porch, or by using plants to disguise it.

It may be worthwhile to set out the environmental benefits that installing an EV home charger will allow. Environmental benefits may come in the form of reduced carbon footprint and reduced air pollution, which can be calculated using online tools such as a “Carbon Reduction Calculator”.

Data gained from these calculations may be related back to targets and objections set out in the Council’s Local Plan, Carbon Policy and Air Quality Policies that are found in the Development Plan

If located in a designated area, such as a conservation area, then there are increased chances that if an application is accepted there will be conditions attached, affecting the size, appearance and placement of the charger.

Pre-application planning advice can help ease the planning process by ensuring clarity for both the applicant and the Council before a formal application is made.

Solar panels and planning permission

Do I need planning permission?

Permitted development rights allow the installation of solar panels. This is subject to the conditions outlined below.

To comply with permitted development conditions, you should place the solar panel, so far as is practicable, to reduce its effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area. You should remove solar panels as soon as they are no longer needed.

Solar panels mounted on a house or a block of flats or a building in the grounds of a house or flats

You need only apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • it would protrude more than 20 centimetres from the external surface of the wall or roof slope, when measured perpendicularly
    the highest part of the solar panel or equipment will be higher than the highest part of the roof. This excludes any chimney
  • it would be installed on a wall in a conservation area which faces a highway - this includes roads, paths and public rights of way
  • your house or flat is a listed building, or within the curtilage of a listed building - 'curtilage' means within the garden or grounds
  • if your house or flat is a listed building you must also apply for listed building consent
  • stand-alone solar panels on domestic premises (panels not on a building)

You need only apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a stand-alone solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • more than one stand-alone solar panel would be installed
  • it would exceed 4 metres in height
  • it would be located 5 metres within the boundary of the property
  • it would be installed within the curtilage of a listed building. Curtilage means within the garden or grounds
  • in a conservation area, any part of the solar installation would be closer to a highway that bounds the curtilage and any part of the house or block of flats - a highway includes roads, paths and public rights of way
  • the surface area of any stand-alone solar panel will exceed 9 square metres or any dimension of its array (including other equipment) would exceed 3 metres

Where can I find more information?

The Government continues to review permitted development and the planning portal has the most up to date guidance. The council will continue to monitor this page for changes to legislation.

The solar panels section of the national planning portal has lots of guidance and useful information. 

If you are considering installing solar panels to a building in a conservation area you may want to consider how any works can be undertaken to minimise the impact on the historic environment. 

English Heritage have produced advice on how to plan for solar panels on your building

What if I need formal conformation from the Council?

Can I get confirmation that I do not require planning permission?

Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate via the Planning Portal to prove your renewable energy solutions are possible.

Am I likely to get planning permission?

To find out whether your proposal is likely to be accepted, you can apply for pre-planning application advice.

If you submit an application for planning permission, you should review the councils adopted Local Requirements List.

How do I apply?

You can apply via the national planning portal. To find out what information is needed with your application, see the planning application process.