Renewable Planning Rules Relaxed For Listed Buildings
Renewables in listed buildings

Renewable Planning Rules To Be Relaxed For Listed Buildings

Under new planning rules, currently being reviewed, councils will be able to grant ‘blanket’ permission for whole areas of listed buildings to install renewable technologies.

Current Regulations

The current planning system requires properties that are listed or located in a conservation area to acquire individual building permission to make upgrades. In particular, this refers to the installation of heat pumps, solar panels, and double glazing, with the rules being designed to prevent unsightly additions that would ruin the aesthetic of historic buildings.

However, there is a common understanding that reducing the energy usage and carbon emissions associated with listed buildings “is necessary for their long term survival” and the achievement of the UK’s Net Zero by 2050 target.

Ministers stated “it will ensure they continue to be desirable places to live and are maintained as important heritage sites” and Duncan Wilson, CEO of Historic England, also said listed buildings “can and must accommodate change” to help the UK hit its climate targets.

New Proposals

Under the proposed planning rules, owners of historic properties would no longer need to attain permission to install the energy efficient measures. This is as long as they meet certain conditions, and are located in an area that has already received ‘blanket’ permission.

The changes would mean heat pumps and solar panels could be more easily installed on listed buildings.

The new planning rules are part of the Government’s broader efforts to hit Net Zero targets on household emissions. With the regulations currently affecting 350,000 listed properties, and a further 2.8 million that are within conservation areas, they represent a substantial proportion of carbon emissions across the UK.

Baroness Penn, minister for housing, said “this review will ensure they are preserved for future generations to enjoy, while also improving the lives of those who live in them by reducing their energy costs, supporting us in our shared goal to reach Net Zero by 2050”.

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