Push for heat pumps and solar panels on historic buildings

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By James Tapsfield
Political Editor for Mail Online
Article Daily Mail

“The proposals – which would effect around three million buildings – are part of efforts by ministers to boost renewable energy and push for Net Zero”. 

Planning rules for heat pumps and solar panels on historic buildings could be loosened, under government plans. 

People in listed properties or who live in conservation areas could be exempted from having to apply for permission to fit the green technology.

The proposals – which would affect around three million buildings – are part of efforts by ministers to boost renewable energy and push for Net Zero. 

Currently consent is required to make upgrades to individual buildings that hold listed status or aer in a conservation area. 

But the mooted tweaks would enable councils to give blanket permission for whole areas to install heat pumps and solar, as long as owners meet broad conditions. 

They could include not putting solar panels on main roofs and instead installing heat pumps away from public view. 

Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Historic England, told the Daily Telegraph that listed buildings ‘can and must accommodate change’ to help the UK hit climate targets. 

The Department for Levelling Up said the proposals ‘will ensure that this country’s historic homes are fit for the future and play their part in helping us to meet our 2050 target’. 

The review released by the government yesterday said: ‘Historic homes are a vital part of our country’s rich heritage and play a crucial role in fostering pride in place’. 

‘They are cultural assets that we need to protect, conserve and adapt for the benefit of future generations’. 

‘Ensuring they can be adapted to accommodate energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating in a sensitive fashion is key to ensuring their long-term survival’. 

The department’s consultation found planning rules were ‘one of the key barriers’ to installing solar panels, heat pumps and double glazing in historic homes. 

There were complaints that obtaining planning permission or listed building consent took ‘too long’ and the conditions imposed could be ‘prohibitively expensive’. 

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary, warned against giving blanket permissions for ‘unsightly additions’. 

‘I am in favour of increasing permitted development rights’, he told The Telegraph. 

‘The planning system for listed buildings and conservation areas is hopelessly bureaucratic and unnecessarily intrusive’. 

‘However, it needs fundamental reform that maintains suitable protections’.

‘Just allowing the most potentially unsightly additions for ideological green reasons is not the right way to reform the system’. 



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