Change Alley

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Home Energy Rules

with 7 comments

The Department for Communities and Local Government has indicated that the necessary legislation for a more relaxed planning regime for domestic microgeneration equipment – solar panels, heat pumps, biomass boilers and combined heat and power schemes – will be published in Spring 2008. The results of a consultation paper, on the extension of householder permitted development rights for microgeneration, were published last month.

“The Government wants to encourage the widest possible take-up of microgeneration equipment whilst ensuring the reasonable interests of neighbours, the environment and the wider community are protected.
“In the light of the responses to the consultation, the Government now intends to provide permitted development rights for the following types of microgeneration: solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps, biomass and combined heat and power, subject to specific limits and conditions that will ensure that any adverse impact on others is not significant.
“We will be bringing forward secondary legislation to implement these changes for householder microgeneration in Spring 2008.”

84% of respondents agreed with the proposal that there should be no additional permitted development rights for hydropower
microgeneration. The government “does not intend to provide permitted development rights for this type of microgeneration”.

Permitted Development Rights for Householder Microgeneration: Government response to consultation replies


7 Responses

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  1. Good news.


    December 7, 2007 at 6:57 pm

  2. Maybe, maybe not. Permitted Development regulations comprises some of the most nit-picking, jobsworth regulations you could ever wish to see. Example from the consultation document on solar panel restrictions:

    • A projection of no more than 150mm from the roof/wall.
    • A maximum height of a stand-alone solar unit of 4m.
    • A minimum distance to the boundary of a highway or a neighbour’s property of 5m.
    • The size of the array on a stand-alone unit to be no more than 9m2 or 3m deep or wide.
    • In designated areas no development would be permitted to the roof of or forward of the principal elevation facing onto and visible from ahighway or at the side of properties.
    • No stand-alone solar would be permitted within the curtilage of a listed building.

    Solar panel efficiency depends on orientation relative to the sun, so it’s easy to envisage how these regs could forbid installation even though a perfectly usable site might exist on a property. These are all ‘one size fits all’ rules, but really each installation should be assessed on its own merits. How this fits into the brave new world of more relaxed planning remains to be seen.

    Pete Smith

    December 8, 2007 at 8:53 am

  3. It is strange that the planners worry about neighbours being able to see solar panels. This was my experience when planning for the install of 30 panels at the school. We ended up hiding them away.


    December 8, 2007 at 4:02 pm

  4. Yes, you might think that saving the planet would take precedence over neighbours’ loss of some nebulous “amenity value” caused by eyesore installations. Apparently not.
    I love the idea that freestanding solar panels have to be a minimum of 5 metres from the property boundary. How many gardens have a big enough garden to satisfy that requirement, and at the same time provide a suitable site for the panel? I would have thought the best place for a panel would be up against a south-facing fence, i.e right on the boundary.

    Pete Smith

    December 9, 2007 at 1:57 pm

  5. I believe a 52 degree angle is the optimum.


    December 9, 2007 at 4:57 pm

  6. That’s 52 deg to the horizontal? The other important angle is the compass heading, which is probably more likely to be affected by these petty regulations.

    Pete Smith

    December 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm

  7. Yes and yes (due south)


    December 9, 2007 at 6:58 pm

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