Installing a ground source or water source heat pump system does not usually need planning permission and should fall within permitted development rights.

If you live in a listed building or a conservation area, however, you should contact your council to check on local policy.

Installation of one air source heat pump used solely for heating purposes is normally permitted, provided that it complies with the MCS Planning Standards (or equivalent standards) and subject to the following conditions:

  • no more than one air source heat pump can be installed on (or within the curtilage of) your property
  • the volume of the air source heat pump's outdoor compressor unit (including any housing) must not exceed one cubic metre
  • no part of the air source heat pump can be installed within three metres of the boundary of your property
  • if in the case of the installation of an air source heat pump, a stand alone wind turbine is installed within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse
  • the air source heat pump can not  be installed on a pitched roof
  • if installed on a flat roof, the air source heat pump must not be sited within one metre of the external edge of that roof
  • the air source heat pump cannot be installed on a wall or roof which fronts a highway.

An air source heat pumps must be sited to have a minimal effect on the external appearance of your property and the wider amenity of the area. For more details on restrictions applying to the installation of air source heat pumps, you should contact your local planning authority.

Removal of permitted development rights

You need to be aware of whether the permitted development rights have been removed from your property by the Local Planning Authority. If they have been removed, you must submit a planning application for the work.

The Local Planning Authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights as a condition of the original planning permission for your property. This information will be available on the planning register held by the Local Planning Authority. Permitted development rights may also have been removed by an 'Article 4' direction. These are most common in conservation areas where the character of an area could be threatened by unmanaged development. Your solicitor should have informed you of whether an article 4 direction exists when you purchased your property, but you can check with the Local Planning Authority if you are not sure.