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Find out if you need planning permission

Planning permission for renewable energy sources

Southwark Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and encouraging greener buildings is a key priority of our Climate Change Strategy. We strongly encourage the installation of renewable energy and heating systems and the retrofitting of homes and businesses in Southwark. 

Do I need planning permission for my project? 

Householders can usually install renewable energy and heating systems sources such as photovoltaic (PV) panels, air or ground source heat pumps without planning permission. This applies if the system meets certain conditions such as the size and location of the system, and heritage considerations. This is called permitted development. You can view the relevant permitted development planning legislation for heat pumps, solar panels and other renewable energy installations for homes and businesses to see the conditions.

If you want to be certain that your project does not require planning permission, you can apply to us for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC). We will assess the project against the legislation and will then confirm if the project benefits from permitted development rights.   

Note that permitted development rights do not apply to flats. 

Find out if you need our planning permission service 

We offer a free of charge online service to check whether the project will need planning permission or not. To use this service, simply enter the postcode of your address where the project will take place and then answer a series of questions about the project. The service will then tell you whether your project needs planning permission or a Lawful Development Certificate and will advise you on what to do next. 

Access the find out if you need planning permission service 

Free pre-application advice service for homeowners and ‘not for profit’ community energy organisations 

We also provide a free pre-application planning advice service for domestic renewable energy, heat and retrofit projects. This is so we can support our residents’ transition to low and zero-carbon technologies that heat, power and insulate their homes by providing clear planning advice. 

This free service is available to: 

  • homeowners including owners of flats and houses 
  • ‘not for profit’ community energy organisations

Find out more about our free pre-application planning advice service for domestic renewable energy projects 

Community Energy London

Community Energy London is a group that helps individuals, voluntary groups and businesses to share knowledge and enthusiasm for reducing energy waste. You can find out more about Community Energy London, and how to join on their website

Boiler Upgrade Scheme 

The national Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) supports the decarbonisation of heating systems in homes and non-domestic buildings. The government scheme offers grants to cover part of the cost of replacing fossil fuel heating systems with heat pumps or biomass boilers. Find out more information and how you can apply. 

Advice on solar panels

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 to 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: 19 February 2024

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