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Wind Turbines

Planning Permission

Under permitted development rights in some cases it is possible to install domestic wind turbines without the need for an application for planning permission, so long as specified limits and conditions are met (see below).

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In other cases you will need to apply for planning permission from your local authority to add a domestic wind turbine to your house, or grounds surrounding your home.

Always check with your local planning authority about planning issues before you have a system installed.

Wind turbine: building mounted

Wind turbine: stand alone

 

Wind turbine: building mounted

The installation, alteration or replacement of a building mounted wind turbine can be considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, provided ALL the limits and conditions listed below are met:

Limits to be met:

  • Permitted development rights for building mounted wind turbines apply only to installations on detached houses (not blocks of flats) and other detached buildings within the boundaries of a house or block of flats. A block of flats must consist wholly of flats (e.g. should not also contain commercial premises).
  • Development is permitted only if the building mounted wind turbine installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standards or equivalent standards. Read more about the scheme.
  • The installation must not be sited on safeguarded land. An Aviation Safeguarding Tool can be used to check whether the installation will be on safeguarded land.
  • Only the first installation of any wind turbine would be permitted development, and only if there is no existing air source heat pump at the property. Additional wind turbines or air source heat pumps at the same property requires an application for planning permission.
  • No part (including blades) of the building mounted wind turbine should protrude more than three metres above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) or exceed an overall height (including building, hub and blade) of 15 metres, whichever is the lesser. 
  • The distance between ground level and the lowest part of any wind turbine blade must not be less than five metres.
  • No part of the building mounted wind turbine (including blades) must be within five metres of any boundary.
  • The swept area of any building mounted wind turbine blade must be no more than 3.8 square metres.
  • In Conservation Areas, an installation is not permitted if the building mounted wind turbine would be on a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway.
  • Permitted development rights do not apply to a turbine within the curtilage of a Listed Building or within a site designated as a Scheduled Monument or on designated land* other than Conservation Areas.

In addition, the following conditions must also be met. The wind turbine must :

  • use non-reflective materials on blades.
  • be removed as soon as reasonably practicable when no longer needed for microgeneration.
  • be sited, so far as practicable, to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and its effect on the amenity of the area.

* Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and World Heritage Sites.

You may wish to discuss with the Local Planning Authority for your area whether all of these limits and conditions will be met.

 

Wind turbine: stand alone

The installation, alteration or replacement of a stand alone (not building mounted) wind turbine within the boundaries of a house or block of flats can be considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, provided ALL the limits and conditions listed below are met.

A block of flats must consist wholly of flats (e.g. should not also contain commercial premises).

Limits to be met:

  • Development is permitted only if the stand alone wind turbine installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standards or equivalent standards. Read more about the scheme.
  • The installation must not be sited on safeguarded land. The Aviation Safeguarding Tool can be used to check whether the installation will be on safeguarded land.
  • Only the first installation of any wind turbine would be permitted development, and only if there is no existing air source heat pump at the property. Additional wind turbines or air source heat pumps at the same property requires an application for planning permission.
  • The highest part of the stand alone wind turbine must not exceed 11.1 metres. 
  • The distance between ground level and the lowest part of any wind turbine blade must not be less than five metres.
  • An installation is not permitted if any part of the stand alone wind turbine (including blades) would be in a position which is less than a distance equivalent to the overall height of the turbine (including blades) plus 10 per cent of its height when measured from any point along the property boundary.
  • The swept area of any stand alone wind turbine blade must be no more than 3.8 square metres.
  • In Conservation Areas, development would not be permitted if the stand alone wind turbine would be installed so that it is nearer to any highway which bounds the curtilage (garden or grounds) of the house or block of flats than the part of the house or block of flats which is nearest to that highway.
  • Permitted development rights do not apply to a turbine within the curtilage of a Listed Building or within a site designated as a Scheduled Monument or on designated land* other than Conservation Areas.

In addition, the following conditions must also be met. The wind turbine must:

  • use non-reflective materials on blades.
  • be removed as soon as reasonably practicable when no longer needed for microgeneration.
  • be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and its effect on the amenity of the area.

* Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and World Heritage Sites.

You may wish to discuss with the Local Planning Authority for your area whether all of these limits and conditions will be met.

The microgeneration certification scheme

To support the development of the microgeneration industry and to drive the quality and reliability of installations a Microgeneration Certification Scheme has been developed in partnership with the industry and other organisations  representing consumer interests.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme includes clear standards to support the installation of wind turbines and air source heat pumps. The main purpose of the scheme is to build consumer confidence in microgeneration technologies and to help move the industry to a sustainable position.

It includes certification for products and installer companies, and a code of practice based on The Office of Fair Trading Consumer Code. Permitted development rights for wind turbines and air source heat pumps will only be accorded for equipment installed by an installer who has been certificated through the scheme using a certificated product. The installer is therefore responsible for ensuring that the installation meets permitted development noise standards at the time of installation. For further details, see the microgeneration certification scheme’s website at: http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/

Building Regulations

If you wish to install a wind turbine which will be attached to your house building regulations will normally apply.

Size, weight and force exerted on fixed points would be considerable.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation. It is advisable to contact an installer who can provide the necessary advice.

You could use an installer registered with the relevant competent person scheme (as listed in Row 17 of Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations).  A registered installer may be authorised to self-certify the work to comply with this aspect of the building regulations without involving local authority building control.

If the wind turbine is not attached to your house, then only the electrical installation and connection will be captured by the requirements of the building regulations.

If the electrical work is of the type listed in Row 12 of Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations and your installer is a member of a competent person scheme listed against that row, then the installer may be authorised to self-certify the work to comply with this aspect of the building regulations without involving local authority building control.

Disclaimer

This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.

This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.