Planning Permission

Ground source or water source heat pump

The installation of a ground source heat pump or a water source heat pump on domestic premises is usually considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission.

If you live in a listed building or a conservation area you should contact your council to check on local requirements.

Air source heat pump

From 1 December 2011 the installation of an air source heat pump on domestic premises is considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, provided ALL the limits and conditions listed below are met.

These permitted development rights apply to the installation, alteration or replacement of an air source heat pump on a house or block of flats, or within the curtilage (garden or grounds) of a house or block of flats, including on a building within that curtilage. A block of flats must consist wholly of flats (e.g. should not also contain commercial premises).

Limits to be met:

  • Development is permitted only if the air source heat pump installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standards or equivalent standards. Read more about the scheme.
  • 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 requires 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 roofs 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 or World Heritage Site the air source heat pump must not be installed on a wall or roof which fronts a highway or be nearer to any highway which bounds the property than any part of the building.
  • On land that is not within a  Conservation Area or World Heritage Site,  the air source heat pump must not be installed on a wall if that wall fronts a highway and any part of that wall is above the level of the ground storey.

In addition, the following conditions must also be met. The air source heat pump must be:

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

You may wish to discuss with the Local Planning Authority for your area whether all of these limits and conditions will be met.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme is an industry-led scheme designed to support the development of the microgeneration industry and to drive the quality and reliability of installations. The scheme has been developed in partnership with Government, experts in the field and other organisations representing consumer interests.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme includes clear standards to support the installation of wind turbines and air source heat pumps. The main purpose of the scheme is to build consumer confidence in microgeneration technologies.

The scheme includes certification for products and installer companies. One of the limits of permitted development rights for wind turbines and air source heat pumps is that equipment must be installed by an installer who has been certificated through the scheme using a certificated product.

While it is ultimately the landowners responsibility to ensure that all of the conditions and limits to be permitted development will be met, the installer of the equipment should check to ensure that the installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme planning standards, including requirements on noise. For further details, see the microgeneration certification scheme’s website at: http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/

Building Regulations

Installation of either a ground source or air source heat pump will have to comply with the Building Regulations.

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

Disclaimer

This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.

This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.