The UK solar energy industry has praised a government review published earlier this week which considers how the 350,000 listed homes and 2.8 million in conservation areas can be more easily adapted to improve their energy efficiency including by making the installation of solar panels on listed buildings more straightforward.

The review was conducted by the Departments for Energy Security and Net Zero, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Culture (DLUHC), Media and Sport. It broadly concurs with the view of UK industry trade association Solar Energy UK that rules on installing solar panels on listed homes and homes in conservation areas are unduly complex and restrictive. This means that occupants are currently paying higher energy bills than other households. Easing restrictions is therefore key to ensuring their long-term survival, noted a Ministerial Foreword to the review.

UK Solar Energy

Contributors to the review commonly felt 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.”

Currently, certain energy upgrades require planning permission, some require separate listed buildings consent, whereas others require neither. However, Listed Building Consent Orders (LBCOs) can provide permission for certain alterations or extensions to listed buildings in England, meaning that a way in which to cut through the red tape is already available.

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