Solar Panels In A Conservation Area

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Solar panels are the smartest solution for our electricity needs. They allow us to save on electricity bills and reduce our carbon footprint. But can you install solar panels in conservation areas? Below ESE Group will help to answer the above question in detail. We’ll list the regulations and permissions required for installing solar panels on a listed building or in a conservation area.

What Is A Conservation Area?

A conservation area is an area that carries an acknowledged historical or architectural significance. The United Kingdom started to classify significant rural and urban areas as conservation areas in 1967.

Now, there are about 10,000 conservation areas around the UK. Interestingly, it’s not the individual buildings that matter but rather the feel and entire atmosphere of the area. 

For instance, whole villages, such as Osmotherley, are classified as conservation areas. In other cases, urban centres in major cities are among conservation areas. Indeed, the Alexandra Palace in London is one of the UK’s conservation areas.

Are Solar Panels Allowed In A Conservation Area?

You can install solar panels in conservation areas. However, additional restrictions may apply, especially if you live in or near a listed building.

If you live in a conservation area, consult your Local Planning Authority (LPA) before you install solar panels. Most probably, you’ll need solar panel planning permission.

In most cases, you don’t need permission, as solar panels are classified as “permitted developments.” Thus, the same regulations may apply to conservation areas and everywhere else. It’s important to check before you invest in a solar installation. That way, you can be confident that you are adhering to all local regulations and guidelines, which vary from area to area. 

5 General Rules For Installing Solar Panels In The UK

Here are general guidelines for installing solar panels. These rules apply everywhere within the United Kingdom, including conservation areas.

  1. The solar panels shouldn’t stick over 20 cm above the roof.
  2. Solar panels can’t be installed above the highest flat roof or main ridge line.
  3. Your solar panels shouldn’t interfere with the appearance of the building.
  4. You can’t install solar panels if they reduce the aesthetic value of the area in general.
  5. Unused solar panels should be removed immediately.

If you follow all these rules, you won’t need building permission. However, you should consider some additional rules if your building falls in a conservation area.

3 Special Rules To Install Solar Panels In A Conservation Area

In addition to the general installation rules, follow these rules if you want to install solar panels in conservation areas:

  1. Solar panels can’t be installed on a wall facing the road.
  2. You aren’t permitted to install solar panels on a listed building or any other building on the same grounds as a listed building.
  3. You can’t install solar panels on scheduled monuments.

2 Important Factors To Consider

Alongside all these regulations, you need to consider two important factors. Installing solar panels in a conservation area may require additional permits in these two cases:

Article 4 Direction

In some cases, the LPA in your area would issue an Article 4 direction. That’s a precaution issued by the authority when a historically significant area is threatened by developments.

It gives the authorities the right to stop any alterations in listed or non-listed buildings if they would affect the character of a significant area.

Therefore, you should check if your property falls under Article 4 direction. In this case, you might be required to get further permits.

Listed Building Consent

Although there’s general consent that you can’t install solar panels on a listed building, it can be permitted in some cases.

If your building is listed or falls within the grounds of a listed building, check with the local authorities before you give up completely.

In some cases, you can install solar panels provided that they’re totally hidden from view. Apply for the listed building consent to get the applicable regulations according to your case.

Installing Solar Panels In Conservation Areas FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding solar panels in conservation areas:

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels in my garden in the UK?

No, you only need to acquire a permit in two main cases. The first is if your panel protrudes more than 20 cm horizontally above the rooftop. 

The second is when you install solar panels facing a road or highway. Most probably, these two conditions don’t apply to your garden solar panels.

Again, regulations for conservation areas may vary, and checking with your local authority is always best. 

Can I install a solar panel on a listed building in the UK?

Yes, you can, but you’ll need additional permissions. If you wish to install solar panels on a listed property, apply for local building consent at your Local Planning Authority.

Can I put a solar panel on agricultural land in the UK?

Yes, you can build a solar farm over your agricultural land. The good news is you won’t need special planning permission for it.

Solar Panels In Conservation Areas Conclusion

So, can I install solar panels in a conservation area?

Yes, you can, but you’ll need special permits. A conservation area is an area with historical or aesthetic significance. Therefore, all building alterations are strictly regulated in these areas in order to not lose the special feel and ambience of the area.

If you can meet the special and general regulations, apply for planning permission at your Local Planning Authority before you install your solar panels.

Remember, the UK government is keen on renewable energy, as are local authorities, so the rules are always in your favour.

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Born in North West England, Jack kicked off his career in the insurance arena, dealing with claims for three years. Always up for a challenge, Jack leapt out of his comfort zone and embarked upon 5 years of excitement with the military.

Working for the Ministry of Defence, Jack specialised in counter-terrorism which took him to places such as Dubai, Oman, Iraq, Norway and Bahrain. During this period he worked with various Governments implementing strategic operations to prevent terrorism.

After travelling around various countries Jack increasingly came across various forms of solar from large solar farms to domestic solar panels. From here Jack took a keen interest in all things solar and started reading about the technological capabilities with a view to entering the industry after his career in the Ministry of Defence.

Once home after 5 fruitful years, Jack had 3 months leave in which he immersed himself in a solar crash course and got applying for jobs within the solar sector. He came across ESE Group, a long-established forward-thinking company whose head office was only a stone’s throw away from him. He picked up the phone to see if there were any vacancies and within a week had a successful interview and obtained a full-time job, starting in the technical team.

Within the first few months, Jack onboarded in various online courses during work and social hours to speed up his knowledge of all things solar. Due to his strong work ethic and thirst for knowledge Jack was promoted to Head of Technical at ESE Group. He currently leads the team and oversees the product development of new technologies within the company alongside assisting where necessary on their maintenance department.

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