Planning permission

Installing a ground or water source heat pump in the grounds of a non-domestic building is likely to be considered ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply to the council for planning permission. There are, however, important limits and conditions which must be met to benefit from the permitted development rights (see below).

Non-domestic land for the purposes of these permitted development rights is broad and can include businesses and community buildings. Permitted development rights are also available for domestic properties, details can be found here.

Note – installations of air source heat pumps on non-domestic land are likely to require an application for planning permission to the local authority.

You may wish to discuss with the local planning authority for your area whether all of the limits and conditions will be met.


Ground source heat pumps

Installing a ground source heat pump in the grounds of a non-domestic building

All the following conditions must be observed:

  • When no longer needed for microgeneration pumps should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable and the land should, as far as reasonably practicable, be restored to its condition before the development took place, or to the condition agreed in writing between the local planning authority and the developer.
  • The total area of excavation must not exceed 0.5 hectares.
  • Only the first stand alone solar installation will be permitted development. Further installations will require planning permission from the local authority.


Water source heat pumps

Installing a water source heat pump in the grounds of a non-domestic building

The following condition must be observed:

  • The total surface area covered by the water source heat pump (including any pipes) must not exceed 0.5 hectares.

Note – If you are a leaseholder you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.


Building Regulations

Installation of either a ground source or air source heat pump will have to comply with building regulations.

It is advisable to contact an installer who can provide the necessary advice, preferably one who belongs to either the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or the relevant Competent Person Scheme.