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Do You Need Planning Permission For A Heat Pump?

Installing a heat pump is a positive step toward reducing your carbon footprint and obtaining energy independence. With the Boiler Upgrade Scheme giving households up to £7,500 towards heat pump installation, there’s never been a better time to transition. 

But before you dive in, a crucial question needs to be addressed: Do you need planning permission for a heat pump?

TL;DR: In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to install a heat pump. BUT there are some exceptions. 

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about planning permission and heat pumps so you can enjoy a stress-free installation process. 

Is planning permission required for air-source heat pumps?

Most heat pump installations are classed as permitted development, so you won’t need to seek permission from your local authority. You can assess whether your installation falls under permitted development by checking the following guidelines. 

Property type 

Houses and flats can install air-source heat pumps, making it easy to generate renewable energy. However, under Class G regulations, there can only be one air-source heat pump on a building or within the curtilage of an apartment block. 

While you’ll have to apply for planning permission to install multiple heat pumps, ground-source systems can produce enough energy to supply an entire block of flats. 

Individual flats or building owners might need permission when installing multiple pumps. 

Size and boundary restrictions 

The current regulations also state that the heat pump’s compressor unit mustn’t exceed 0.6 cubic metres. Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t install a larger air-source system, but you’ll need permission. 

You won’t qualify for permitted development if the pump is installed within one metre of the property’s curtilage. 


Any heat pumps installed in the UK must comply with MCS standards or an equivalent body. The MCS regulates renewable energy insurers and ensures that all companies follow strict guidelines. 

When choosing a heat pump installation service, make sure relevant bodies regulate it, or the pump won’t count as permitted development. 

Wind turbines 

Properties with existing wind turbines cannot install heat pumps under the permitted development guidelines. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to utilise both—as long as you can secure planning permission. 

The main reason is that heat pumps and wind turbines can be classed as permitted developments, but installing both requires an assessment. 

Property restrictions 

Heat pumps cannot be installed on pitched roofs within one metre of the edge on flat roofs. If you have a pitched roof, installing a heat pump can cause safety issues, but positioning it on a wall or finding another location. 

Flat roofs are more flexible for air source heat pumps, and you won’t have any issues as long as they’re one metre from the edge. 

Listed buildings and conservation areas 

Conservation areas and listed buildings are subject to stricter rules due to efforts to preserve their history. Properties in a conservation area might not be classified as listed buildings, but there are still some restrictions in place. 

Conservation areas 

Permitted development applies to properties in conservation areas, but some exceptions exist when installing an air-source heat pump. 

Buildings in conservation areas cannot install heat pumps above the ground storey on walls that front highways. This is to preserve the aesthetic appeal of heritage sites and conservation areas. 

Listed buildings 

Listed buildings can’t install air-source heat pumps under permitted development guidelines. As with most installations and renovations, you’ll have to apply for planning permission from your local authority. 

Do I need planning permission for a ground or water source heat pump?

In most cases, water and ground-source heat pumps fall under permitted development, as they are less visible than air-source heat pumps. 

However, it’s always best to check with your local authority before deciding, as it depends on where your property is located and the adjustments the installation service will need to perform. 

How to make heat pump installation a stress-free process

Installing a heat pump could cut your energy bill by hundreds each year, and the majority of properties in the UK can enjoy a seamless process. Following these steps ensures you don’t waste a lot of time worrying about planning permission. 

Check for permitted development rights 

Most domestic houses and flats have permitted development rights, but it’s essential to check whether you’re in a conservation area, World Heritage Site, national park or area of outstanding beauty. 

These locations often have Article 4 directives, which restrict the types of renovations and installations you can carry out. Your local authority will know whether your property falls under Article 4 restrictions. 

Choose a reputable installation service 

When looking for a heat pump provider, ask to see their certifications and ensure they’re certified by appropriate bodies. The MCS is the main regulator of energy-efficient energy installers, but your local authority might permit other bodies. 

Assess whether you’re within the regulations 

Remember to check whether your heat pump aligns with permitted developed guidelines. Review all of the above points and change the plans if necessary. 

Working with a professional heat pump installation service means you won’t have to worry, as they’ll assess your property and ensure compliance. 

Do Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have different permitted development rules?

Generally speaking, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland have similar permitted development guidelines, but with minor differences. Let’s take a look at the main differences: 

  • Wales: Heat pump compressors can’t exceed one cubic metre in volume and must be installed at least three metres from the boundary. 
  • Scotland and NI: External compressors can’t exceed three metres in height. 

How to apply for planning permission

If you need to apply for planning permission, the government’s Planning Portal is the place to go. It’s easy to use and lets you make the application online. It usually takes between eight and thirteen weeks to receive a decision. 

Ready to explore heat pumps?

Heat pumps will play key roles in the future, contributing to reducing carbon emissions. Whether you choose an air, ground, or water-source pump, it can reduce your energy bills and provide consistent heating. 

Ready to upgrade to a heat pump? Contact us now to learn about our heat pump installation services.

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