Find out if you need planning permission

Planning permission for renewable energy sources

Southwark Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and the development of greener buildings is one of our top priorities. We strongly encourage the installation of renewable energy sources in homes and businesses across Southwark.

Advice on heat pumps

There are permitted development rights in place to allow the installation of a ground source heat pump or an air source heat pump to a residential property. This means that you do not usually need to apply for planning permission for these works. View the relevant legislation on air source heat pumps (external website). We offer free pre-application advice for installing a heat pump in your home. 

Advice on solar panels

Solar panels can usually be installed without planning permission. However, there are some conditions that you should be aware of before you carry out any works. You should check the relevant permitted development legislation (external website) to help you understand these conditions. 

If you want to be sure that your proposal to install solar panels does not require planning permission, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.  We also offer free pre-application advice on installing solar panels on your home. 

Would solar panels be right for my property?

You should consider the following factors when deciding if you want to install solar panels on your property:

  • Do you live in a conservation area or in a listed building? You might need planning permission to install solar panels. Find out more about design and conservation. 

  • What direction does the roof slope face? South facing roof slopes offer the best opportunity to benefit from solar energy, but east and west facing roof slopes can also generate a good amount of electricity for your home. It is not advised to install panels on a north facing roof due to the lack of sunlight.

  • Is there anything which might block the access of light to the roof slope, for example, a large tree or a nearby building? This could limit the amount of energy that can be generated by the panels.

  • What is the pitch of the roof? The ideal roof pitch angle is between 30-40°. If you want to install panels to a flat roof, you might require planning permission.

  • What is the roof material? Solar panels cannot be installed on a glass roof, but most other materials are appropriate.

Page last updated: 15 December 2022

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