Air Source Heat Pump Conservation Area
Over the past few years, it has become easier for homeowners to install green heating systems in their homes. Air source heat pumps have now joined products such as biomass boilers and hot plates as licensed developments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, provided certain requirements are met.
This means that, for most homeowners, you no longer need to worry about applying for planning permission to install a heat pump. However, we always advise readers to exercise caution - call the local planning department and double-check with them. Your local MCS certified installer can also answer any questions you may have about heat pump planning permission in your area.
Air source heat pump planning permission
You do not have to apply for planning permission as long as your heat pump installation meets the following permit development criteria. However, these standards vary slightly in different countries in the UK. For example, in Scotland, the height of the outer unit and shell of the air source heat pump cannot exceed 3 meters, but in England, the unit cannot exceed 0.6m³. Remember - if in doubt, check with your local planning authority.
1. Your air source heat pump is for heating only (space heating and hot water).
2. The installation complies with the Micro-Generation Certification Scheme Planning Standard (MCS 020). It is the installer's responsibility to ensure that your heat pump installation is MCS compliant.
3. Only the first air source heat pump is a licensed development right - adding a second one requires planning permission.
4. Likewise, if you don't have a wind turbine on your property, an air source heat pump is a licensed development. If so, you will need to apply for planning permission.
5. The air source heat pump must be removed when it is no longer in use.
6. The heat pump must be installed in a manner that minimizes its impact on the appearance of the building and the comfort of the area. This might involve placing the exterior unit at the back of the house, not visible from the road, or if you're attaching it to the wall, it must be below the first level.
7. The air source heat pump must be installed on a flat surface. You may be permitted to install external equipment on flat roofs if they are at least 1m from the edge of the roof, but check with your local planning office to ensure safety (England, Scotland and Wales only).
8. If your home is a Listed Building or Designated Monument, you must obtain a Listed Building Permit prior to installation.
9. If your property is located within a protected area or a World Heritage site, you must check with your local planning authority to check if an air source heat pump is considered a licensed development.
10. External compressor size: In the UK, the outdoor unit and enclosure are no larger than 0.6m3. In Wales, the compressor set and housing cannot exceed 1m3, in Scotland, 3m, and in Northern Ireland, external units cannot exceed 2m.
11. Distance from boundary/nearest house: In England and Scotland, air source heat pumps must be located at least 1 metre from the property boundary. In Wales, it must be more than 3 meters, while in Northern Ireland, outside units must be more than 30 meters from the nearest house (other than your own).
12. Exterior units must not protrude more than 1 meter from the exterior wall, roof or chimney of the dwelling.
MCS Planning Criteria and Noise Level Requirements
The MCS Planning Standard (MCS 020) states that the noise level of the air source heat pump itself must be maintained at or below 42 decibels (dB) at a distance of one meter from any habitable room. If wind turbines have been installed, the total noise pollution of the two micro-generation technologies must not exceed 42 decibels. If so, you will need planning permission approval.
UK ground source heat pump planning permission
Water and ground source heat pumps are licensed development rights in England, Wales and Scotland, as long as the heat pump remains within your family's mansion, no more than 0.5 hectares, there is only one heat pump on site, and it should be removed as soon as it is no longer in use.
To be on the safe side, we always recommend checking with your local planning authority.
Grid connection of the heat pump
Installing any heat pump will increase the huge demand for electricity from the local grid. Therefore, the local distribution network operator (DNO) will need to be notified once the installation is complete. The good news is that this is done by the installer - you won't see any documentation or paperwork for this part of the installation.
You will also need to ensure that the developer installing the ASHP communicates with the local government and has permission for the size and type of unit to be installed. Not all systems are required to conform to allowable development standards.