Permitted Development Rights: Non-Domestic Solar Panels and Domestic Air Source Heat Pumps

Consultation on proposals for expanding the range of situations in which non-domestic solar panels and domestic air source heat pumps can be installed without first requiring planning permission to be applied for.


1. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as updated) provides for a range of buildings, technologies and other 'developments' to go ahead without the need for planning permission. Other permissions, such as a building warrant or listed building consent may still be required. The removal of the planning application step means there is no planning application fee to be paid and there would be no cost arising paid from the preparation of information supporting the application. It also removes uncertainty because those things that are permitted development are already acceptable in planning terms.

2. Permitted development rights work by identifying the conditions the proposal must meet in order for the rights to apply. Proposals that do not meet the conditions are not permitted development and therefore require planning permission before they can go ahead. Any planning application will be considered against the policies of the relevant development plan and other relevant matters known as 'material considerations'.

3. Permitted development rights work best for small scale, low impact developments that can be constructed or installed in a similar manner regardless of the location of the property where the development happens. Impacts can be predicted and managed through a single set of conditions that is applied in all instances. Thresholds can be established, beyond which the rights do not apply, allowing more significant impacts to be considered case by case, through the planning application process by the relevant planning authority for the area.

4. Permitted development rights for air source heat pumps and solar panels are being reviewed to ensure that those wishing to install the technology in Scotland and those manufacturing the technology have similar conditions to England and Wales. For solar panels this is also an opportunity to provide similar permitted development rights across residential (domestic) and non-domestic (any building that isn't a home) buildings. This can help support the market for air source heat pumps and solar panels, whilst also reducing the reliance of individual properties on fossil fuel heat and power sources.

5. At this time our proposals relate to solar panels on non-domestic buildings and air source heat pumps on domestic properties.

6. While we consider there may be demand for air source heat pumps on non-domestic properties the range and scale of heat demand in these properties can vary significantly. Standard measures to control the level of noise emitted from an air source heat pump available for the United Kingdom, in the form of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standards, currently apply only to domestic properties.

7. For solar panels on domestic properties the installation is not limited by the potential output of the panels and installation falls within the 'one meter bubble' concept where by development that does not add to the floor space of the house or flat and projects by less than one meter from the external wall of the building is considered to be permitted development. This presents the concept and there are some restrictions which can be read at:

8. Similar rights do not apply to the non-domestic sector. We want to ensure that for solar panels the technology can benefit from permitted development rights whether the panels are attached to domestic or non-domestic buildings.


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