Planning Permission & Solar Panels in Northumberland: Do You Need It?

At Northumberland Solar, we understand that installing solar panels in your home is a significant decision, influenced not just by the desire for cleaner energy but also by the complexities of planning permission in Northumberland.

In Northumberland, homeowners often face unique challenges due to specific local planning regulations, especially in areas with listed buildings or within conservation zones.

With an average of 1,340 to 1,480 sunlight hours per year in our region, the potential for solar energy is immense, but it’s crucial to navigate the planning permissions correctly.

Solar Planning Permission: Residential Installations

Navigating planning permission for residential solar panels in Northumberland requires understanding specific local regulations, especially for properties in conservation areas and listed buildings.

General Guidelines & Exemptions:

In Northumberland, most residential solar panel installations are considered ‘Permitted Development,’ typically not requiring formal planning permission. This exemption is valid provided the solar panels do not protrude more than 200mm beyond the plane of the roof and are not higher than the highest part of the roof, excluding chimneys. However, additional considerations apply to properties in conservation areas or listed buildings.

Solar Panels in Conservation Areas

For properties located in conservation areas within Northumberland, the installation of solar panels is subject to stricter scrutiny. The key is to ensure that the panels do not harm the area’s character or appearance. In these areas, panels should not be installed on the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway. It’s crucial for homeowners to consult with the local planning authority to understand specific restrictions and obtain the necessary approvals.

Solar Panels on Listed Buildings

Listed buildings in Northumberland present unique challenges for solar panel installation. Any alteration to a listed building, including the addition of solar panels, requires ‘Listed Building Consent’ from the local planning authority. This process involves a detailed assessment to ensure that the installation does not adversely affect the building’s historical significance or architectural integrity. Homeowners must provide thorough documentation and may need to explore less visible locations for panel installation or consider alternative solutions that align with the building’s historical context.

Solar Panels & Permitted Development: What You Need to Know

Understanding the Permitted Development rights for solar panels is crucial for homeowners in Northumberland. These rights allow for certain types of development without the need for a full planning application, but they come with specific conditions.

Permitted Development rights for solar panels in residential properties are detailed in the ‘Permitted Development for Householders – Technical Guidance’ document. According to this guidance:

  • Roof and Wall Installations: Solar panels installed on the roof or an external wall of your property generally do not require planning permission, provided they respect certain limits and conditions.
  • Protrusion Limits: Panels should not protrude more than 200mm beyond the plane of the wall or roof slope on which they are mounted.
  • Height Restrictions: When installed on a roof, the panels should not be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding chimneys). This is to ensure that the solar panels do not overly dominate the appearance of the building.
  • Designated Land Considerations: Special rules apply in designated areas such as conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, national parks, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In these areas, solar panels should not be installed on the principal or side elevation of the building that faces onto a road.
  • Listed Buildings and Buildings in Conservation Areas: Additional permissions may be required for listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas. In these cases, it’s advisable to consult with the local planning authority.

Solar Panels on Listed Buildings in Northumberland

Installing solar panels on listed buildings in Northumberland presents unique challenges due to the stringent regulations designed to preserve the historical integrity of these properties. Understanding these regulations is crucial for homeowners who wish to embrace renewable energy while respecting their building’s heritage.

Detailed Application Process for Listed Buildings: Obtaining permission to install solar panels on a listed building involves a comprehensive application process, which is essential to ensure that the installation respects the building’s heritage.

  • Initial Consultation: Before proceeding, it’s advisable to have a preliminary discussion with the local planning authority. This can provide insights into any specific concerns or requirements related to the listed building.
  • Preparation of Supporting Documents: The application should include detailed plans and drawings that show the proposed solar panels’ location, design, and how they will be affixed to the building. This often involves working with a specialist who understands both solar technology and historical preservation.
  • Visual Impact Assessment: A key part of the application is demonstrating how the solar panels will visually impact the building. This might include photomontages or visualizations showing the panels from various viewpoints, especially from public vantage points.
  • Historical Impact Report: Alongside visual assessments, a report detailing the historical significance of the building and how the proposed solar panels will affect this is crucial. This report should justify the need for solar panels and argue why their benefits outweigh any minimal impact on the building’s historical character.
  • Technical Specifications: Detailed technical information about the solar panels and installation process must be included. This should cover the type of panels, their efficiency, installation method, and any modifications required to the building’s structure.
  • Consultation with Heritage Bodies: In some cases, consultation with local heritage bodies or societies might be necessary. Their input can be invaluable in ensuring that the installation is sympathetic to the building’s historical nature.
  • Public Notice and Neighbour Consultation: As part of the application process, public notices might be required to inform the local community and neighbours about the proposed changes, allowing them to provide feedback or objections.

Navigating the Complexities: The process of obtaining permission for solar panels on listed buildings in Northumberland is intricate and requires a thorough understanding of both renewable energy solutions and heritage preservation. Each application is unique and must be handled with a bespoke approach that considers the specific characteristics and historical value of the building.

We can help you every step of the way with this – just get a quote today and we’ll discuss it when we get in touch.

Do I need planning permission to put up solar panels?

Most residential solar panel installations in the UK fall under Permitted Development and don't require planning permission, provided they meet specific criteria regarding size and placement.

Can Neighbours object to solar panels?

Neighbours can object to solar panels during the planning permission process or if they believe the installation violates planning rules or impacts their property.

Is there a limit on how many solar panels I can have UK?

There's no specific limit on the number of solar panels, but installations must comply with size and placement regulations under Permitted Development rules.

Do you need a Licence for solar panels?

No licence is required for installing solar panels on residential properties in the UK.

Do you need to notify building control for solar panels?

It's advisable, nut not a requirement, to notify building control for solar panel installations to ensure compliance with building regulations, especially for structural integrity and electrical safety.

Can you have solar panels in conservation areas?

Solar panels in conservation areas are permissible but may face stricter regulations, particularly regarding the visual impact on the area.

Can you have solar panels on listed buildings?

Yes, but installing solar panels on listed buildings requires Listed Building Consent, ensuring the installation doesn't harm the building's historical significance.

Do solar panels fall under permitted development?

Yes, in many cases, solar panels on residential properties fall under Permitted Development, subject to certain conditions and limits.