Solar PV and Planning Approval – what you need to know
- Which in generating electricity (or as the case may be) producing heat, relies wholly or mainly on a source of energy or a technology mentioned in subsection (7); and
- The capacity of which to generate electricity or (as the case may be) to produce heat does not exceed the capacity mentioned in subsection (8).
- Fuel cells;
- Water (including waves and tides)
- Solar power;
- Geothermal sources;
- Combined heat and power systems;
- Other sources of energy and technologies for the generation of electricity or the production of heat, the useof which would, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, cut emissions of greenhouse gases in Great Britain.
- In relation to the generation of electricity, 50 kilowatts;
- In relation to the production of heat, 45 kilowatts thermal.
- Would exceed four metres in height;
- Would, if installed on any article 1(5) land, be installed so that it is nearer to any highway which bounds the curtilage than the part of the building which is nearest to that highway;
- Would be installed within five metres of the boundary of the curtilage;
- Would be installed within the curtilage of a listed building; or
- Would be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument; or
Finally after a long wait the government changed permitted development requirements for rooftop commercial solar installations.
The Statutory Instrument ‘TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING, ENGLAND – 2015 No. 596 – The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015’ was placed in Parliament on 24th March and will come into force on 15th April 2015.
The changes will streamline the process for larger developments between 50kW and 1MW but systems of this size will still require prior notification to the local planning authority with details of the proposed project. A schedule of fees has also yet to be published.
It’s the aim that the new regulations will streamline the process for larger developments between 50kW and 1MW but systems of this size will still require prior notification to the local planning authority with details of the proposed project. The new regulations state are essentially the same as the existing permitted development rules for sub 50kW with a requirement to notify the local authority as below;
- Class J – installation or alteration etc of solar equipment on non-domestic premises
J. The installation, alteration or replacement of—
- (b) microgeneration solar PV equipment on a building; or
other than a dwellinghouse or a block of flats.
Development not permitted
J.3 Development is not permitted by Class J(c) if the capacity of the solar PV equipment installed (together with any solar PV equipment installed under Class J(b)) to generate electricity exceeds 1 megawatt.
J.4—(1) Class J development is permitted subject to the following conditions—
- (a) the solar PV equipment or solar thermal equipment must, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area; and
- (b) the solar PV equipment or solar thermal equipment is removed as soon as reasonably practicable when no longer needed.
(2) Class J(c) development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the design or external appearance of the development, in particular the impact of glare on occupiers of neighbouring land, and the following sub-paragraphs apply in relation to that application.
(3) The application must be accompanied by—
(a) a written description of the proposed development;
(b) a plan indicating the site and showing the proposed development;
(c) the developer’ s contact address; and
(d) the developer’s email address if the developer is content to receive communications electronically;
together with any fee required to be paid.
(4) The local planning authority may refuse an application where, in the opinion of the authority—
- (a) the proposed development does not comply with, or
- (b) the developer has provided insufficient information to enable the authority to establish whether the proposed development complies with, any conditions, limitations or restrictions specified in Class J applicable to the development in question.
(5) Sub-paragraphs (6) and (8) do not apply where a local planning authority refuses an application under sub-paragraph (4) and for the purposes of section 78 (appeals) of the Act such a refusal is to be treated as a refusal of an application for approval.
(6) The local planning authority must give notice of the proposed development—
(a) by site display in at least one place on or near the land to which the application relates for not less than 21 days of a notice which—
- (i) describes the proposed development;
- (ii) provides the address of the proposed development;
- (iii) specifies the date by which representations are to be received by the local planning authority; or
(b) by serving a notice in that form on any adjoining owner or occupier.
(7) The local planning authority may require the developer to submit such information as the authority may reasonably require in order to determine the application.
(8) The local planning authority must, when determining an application—
- (a) take into account any representations made to them as a result of any notice given under sub-paragraph (6); and
- (b) have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government in March 2012(a), so far as relevant to the subject matter of the prior approval, as if the application were a planning application.
(9) The development must not begin before the occurrence of one of the following—
- (a) the receipt by the applicant from the local planning authority of a written notice of their determination that such prior approval is not required;
- (b) the receipt by the applicant from the local planning authority of a written notice giving their prior approval; or
- (c) the expiry of 56 days following the date on which the application under sub-paragraph (3) was received by the local planning authority without the authority notifying the applicant as to whether prior approval is given or refused.
(10) The development must be carried out—
- (a) where prior approval is required, in accordance with the details approved by the local planning authority;
- (b) where prior approval is not required, or where sub-paragraph (9)(c) applies, in accordance with the details provided in the application referred to in sub-paragraph (3),
unless the local planning authority and the developer agree otherwise in writing.
(11) The local planning authority may grant prior approval unconditionally or subject to conditions reasonably related to the subject matter of the prior approval.
So to summarise the above, the process will be not dissimilar to the existing Certificate of Lawful Use process, at best the Local Authority may respond saying yes straight away or at worst they wont respond and you will automatically be able to install after the 56 day period. What more likely however will be the requirement to submit further detail such as the glint glare study and you can expect the process to take around 28 days.