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Do you need planning permission for retrofitting?

Retrofitting means making changes to existing buildings to reduce energy use and therefore carbon emissions.

It includes:

  • insulating roofs, walls and floors
  • replacing windows
  • improving ventilation
  • draught-proofing
  • installing efficient heating and hot water system
  • renewable energy e.g. solar panels

Doing up a property offers a good opportunity to improve its energy efficiency.

To find out more please see our retrofitting your home page.

Do I need planning consent for retrofitting?

Most retrofit measures do not require full planning permission, but some do. This depends on the type of property and its location. For most properties, many measures can be installed without a full planning application because they are covered by Permitted Development Rights (set out in the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) 2015).

Please note that there are different rules for Conservation Areas, National Landscapes, flats, listed buildings and properties with other specific planning conditions such as Article 4 directions.

Use our flow charts below to determine what permission you might need for the improvements you are planning.

Planning permission for low carbon technologies (e.g. solar panels and heat pumps)

Planning permission for energy-saving measures (e.g. insulation and changes to windows)

Properties not automatically covered by Permitted Development Rights

  • Those properties in a Conservation Area or a National Landscape (formerly know as AONBs) – you may have to apply for planning permission to make changes. More information is available on our conservation area webpage and you can check if your property is affected on our interactive map.
  • Flats – these do not have the same permitted development rights as other properties so please consult our planning team about any proposed works.
  • Listed buildings – you must apply for listed building consent. You can check if your property is affected on our interactive map.
  • Properties with specific planning conditions, such as an Article 4 direction covering the area, which has removed permitted development rights. You can find out whether your property is in an Article 4 area.

Further advice and information

Any queries please get in touch before starting retrofitting works to your property. Our pre-application service offers the opportunity to discuss your options and get guidance from planning officers (for a fee).

If you are not sure if permitted development rights apply to your project then you can also apply for a Lawful Development Certificate which would confirm that the development you intend to carry out does not need planning permission.