Green homes

You can go green in your homes. The information below outlines a few common developments householders are interested in. If you are proposing works or developments not mentioned below, please contact the duty planner to determine whether or not planning permission is required.

Do I need planning permission for any renewable energy installations?

The Council supports the use of microgeneration technologies in the borough. However, it is essential to ensure that the appropriate technology is chose for your property. Microgeneration is defined under the Energy Act 2004 as <45kWs (micro-heat) and <50kWs (micro-electricity). Microgeneration can refer to community scale energy which may fall within these capacities.

In general, solar thermal, photovoltaic and air source heat pump installations are considered most appropriate in dense urban environments such as Hackney. Wood and biomass burners, and micro-CHP, can be considered but have air quality impacts, whilst wind turbines are unlikely to be suitable.

Installers who are Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited will be able to provide information about which technology is most appropriate for your property and the planning requirements associated with the technology you are proposing to install. Independent professional advice should be gained before any building works are carried out.

Regardless of whether planning permission is needed, you may be required to meet Building Regulations. See building control for more information.

Where else can I go for information?

Planning Portal is a government run website which has a useful tool which can be used to help determine whether planning permission is required. Planning applications can also be submitted on this site and a wide variety of other help and information can be found there.

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?

For the majority of properties in Hackney, planning permission will not be required to install solar panels as long as:

  • they do not project more then 200mm from the roof or wall that they are attached to and are not higher then they highest part of the roof
  • they are sited to minimise their effect on the appearance of the building
  • when they are not longer in use, they are taken down

However listed building consent is required if you are proposing to put solar panels on a listed building. Check whether your building is listed

In conservation areas, you will require planning permission if they are installed on the main wall or side wall of the building and if they are visible from the road. If they are installed on the rear of the building and will not be seen from the road you will not require planning permission.

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Do I need planning permission to install a woodburning stove or a biomass boiler?

If the property is not listed and is not in a conservation area, woodburning stoves or biomass boilers which are completely internal do not require planning permission as long as:

If the building is listed and or in a conservation area, planning permission will be required.

There are potential air quality impacts associated with the installation of woodburning stoves or biomass boilers and these should be fully discussed with the installer and the Council prior to installation.

Do I need planning permission for a micro-combined heat and power plant?

If the property is not listed and is not in a conservation area, Micro CHP which are completely internal do not require planning permission as long as:

  • if a flue is required, it should be not put onto the main front or side of the property
  • you have completed a CHP monitoring form [pdf, 33.6KB] prior to any installation

If the building is listed and or in a conservation area, planning permission will be required.

There are potential air quality impacts associated with the installation of micro-CHP and these should be fully discussed with the installer and the Council prior to installation.

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Do I need planning permission to install a heat pump?

If the property is not listed and is not in a conservation area, Air Source Heat Pumps which are used solely to generate heat do not require planning permission as long as:

  • it is the first installation of an air pump and there is not a wind turbine on site. All additional installations will require planning permission
  • the installation complies with the MCS Planning Standards
  • the external unit is not located where it can be seen from the road and is in a place that minimises visual impact
  • the external unit is not located on a pitched roof
  • the external unit is not bigger then 0.6m3 
  • all parts of the heat pump are a minimum 1 metre distance from the boundary of the property
  • when the technology is no longer being used it is removed

Some ASHP units are noisy and can have a detrimental impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties. These should be fully discussed with a registered installer and with the Council prior to installation.

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What are my options for improving insulation in my house?

The most suitable way of insulating your home will depend on the way in which it was originally built, and how much insulation is already in place.

Wall insulation

Most walls in Hackney are built of brick and are either cavity walls or solid walls. In general, homes built before the 1920s have solid walls, whilst those built afterwards have cavities. You can check by following the guidance on the Energy Saving Trust.

If you have cavity walls, filling them with insulating foam can be extremely cost effective. Ask a registered installer to assess whether your property is suitable.  You can find one by calling 0800 512 012.

If you have solid walls, insulating them is likely to be a harder and more expensive process, but it can be done. You can choose between insulating the inside walls of your home, or the outside walls.  For more information about these options visit the Energy Saving Trust

If you live in a conservation area you will need to make sure any changes to the outside of your property fall within planning regulations. 

Loft insulation

If you have a loft you can insulate its floor or the inside of the roof.  You can find out more on the Energy Saving Trust.

If you have a flat roof you can also insulate it, generally by adding rigid insulating board on top of the existing roof covering.  Alternatively, if you are having your flat roof replaced, you must fit insulation in order to comply with building regulations. You can read more on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Windows and draughts

All properties lose heat through their windows, and this can be particularly noticeable in older properties. You can reduce the amount of heat lost by installing double or triple glazing. Alternatively, you can fit permanent or temporary secondary glazing. You can find more information on the Energy Saving Trust website.

If you live in a conservation area you will need to make sure any changes to your windows fall within planning regulations.

Draughts let in cold air and release your home's warmth into the atmosphere. They are most often found around windows, doors, suspended floor boards, pipework which leads outside and keyholes and letterboxes. You can draught proof your home using DIY materials, or pay for professional installation. You can find out more about your options on the Energy Saving Trust.

More information

You can find out more from the Energy Saving Trust and our  page.

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Do I need planning permission if I want to insulate the walls of my home?

If the insulation is going to be fitted internally planning permission is not required.

If the insulation is going to be fitted externally and will result in a change in the appearance of the building, planning permission or listed building consent will be required.

External wall insulation must comply with Building Regulations. See building control for more information.

Page updated: 14/03/2016 15:11:03