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Solar Energy UK praises government move to simplify process for solar on historic homes

The government has outlined a plan to streamline the process of installing solar panels on various historic buildings across the UK. Image: Historic Environment Scotland.

Industry trade body Solar Energy UK has praised the government’s move to make solar installations on listed buildings easier.

A review led by the Departments for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ); Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC); Media and Sport identified planning rules as one of the key barriers preventing the wider adoption of solar panels.

Dubbed Adapting historic homes for energy efficiency: a review of the barriers, the publication outlined that “obtaining planning permission or listed building consent took ‘too long’, which not only led to frustration but could also mean losing out on financial support. It was suggested that some people have been put off from pursuing retrofit measures for their home by their perception that the planning process is too complex and uncertain to navigate”.

As a result, the government has outlined its intention to streamline the process of installing solar panels on various historic buildings across the UK.

Currently there are inconsistencies with the planning process. Solar Energy UK stated that certain upgrades require planning permission and some require the listed consent of separate buildings, whereas others require neither.

As a result, the DLUHC will work with Historic England to issue “clearer guidance” on which energy efficiency measures require planning permission or listed building consent. Historic England will also publish planning advice for councils on climate change and historic buildings.

It is worth noting that a consultation will follow on the role of Local Listed Building Consent Orders (LBCOs) and the potential for LCBOs to grant consent for certain upgrades across England. Solar Energy UK said this could include solar panels.

“It is plain to see that there is far too much bureaucracy getting in the way of installing solar panels and other energy upgrades, where they can be done in an appropriate and respectful fashion, on England’s older buildings. I am glad to see that the government is pushing forward with making the confusing series of existing rules clearer, while easing them in the longer term,” said Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK.

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