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11 Jan 2024

Will new planning rules make it easier for owners of listed buildings to install heat pumps and solar panels?

Tansy Dando
Wealth and Business Writer

For owners of listed buildings in the UK, the desire to embrace renewable energy has often collided with the formidable hurdle of securing Listed Building Consent (LBC) from local councils. The need for this consent before installing solar panels or heat pumps has tended to be a lengthy and stressful process, leading many to abandon their eco-friendly aspirations.

But with the government announcing a relaxation on planning rules, could those living in listed properties finally be able to boost their eco credentials?

Why has it been difficult for listed homeowners to get solar panels and heat pumps?

In the past, attempting to introduce solar panels or heat pumps onto a Grade II listed property involved navigating bureaucratic hoops. Each alteration required LBC, meaning owners had to submit detailed plans and endure lengthy reviews.

Many people also faced their plans being rejected, elongating the process even more. 

With such stringent criteria to follow, it’s no surprise that many people gave up on their hopes of making eco-friendly home upgrades altogether. 

How is the government changing the rules for listed buildings? 

Fortunately, a new ray of hope has emerged for owners of listed buildings seeking sustainable energy solutions. The UK government recently announced a relaxation of planning rules for protected buildings in England, allowing property owners to install heat pumps and solar panels. This policy shift forms part of broader strategies to achieve ambitious net-zero targets.

So, what exactly does the change in regulations entail? Essentially, homeowners will now be able to benefit from a more streamlined process, reducing the need for extensive consent for certain renewable energy installations. 

Moreover, the government is offering financial support through grants, such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The scheme has been around for a while but, in October 2023, the government raised the amount on offer to £7,500. This means many more property owners will be able to afford air-source heat or ground-source heat pumps

Why install heat pumps or solar panels?

Wondering if heat pumps and solar panels are a good step for you? No matter what kind of property you live in — listed or new-build — these renewable energy options are as much about cost-efficiency as they are green living. 

Heat pumps, for example, offer a transformative solution by efficiently extracting heat from the environment, providing sustainable heating while slashing energy bills. Their operational efficiency reduces reliance on traditional heating systems, leading to substantial long-term savings. 

Solar panels, meanwhile, harness the sun's abundant and renewable energy, offering a dual benefit. They not only reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources but also significantly curtail electricity expenses. You can generate electricity, effectively cutting down on your utility bills — you can even sell surplus energy back to the grid.

The government's concerted efforts to make these technologies accessible to all homeowners underline the essential shift towards renewable energy. By easing planning regulations and offering grants, they're empowering individuals to embrace sustainable solutions — a vital step in combating climate change. 

Compare suppliers and embrace sustainable energy with SpotDif

Now is the perfect time to embark on your eco-friendly journey and embrace the advantages of heat pumps and solar panels — even if you live in a listed property. Don’t let outdated planning restrictions deter you from reducing your carbon footprint and embracing renewable energy sources. With SpotDif, you can explore the array of options available and take advantage of government grants to facilitate the installation process.

We're committed to simplifying your search for the best deals on installation services. Try our handy platform to explore your options, compare quotes, and kickstart your journey towards sustainable living effortlessly.

Tansy Dando
Wealth and Business Writer
I aim to bring clarity to the complex sectors of wealth and business with researched content designed to help you make the best financial decisions for your needs.
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