• Boost planning success

  • Utilise redundant land

National Planning Policy Framework

  • Mandated renewable strategies

  • Preferential treatment for renewable, decentralised solutions

  • No requirement to prove renewable need

  • Fast-track approval for environmentally sensitive developments

To help increase the use and supply of renewable and low carbon energy and heat, plans should:

a) provide a positive strategy for energy from these sources, that maximises the potential for suitable development, while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily (including cumulative landscape and visual impacts); 

b) consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure their development; and

c) identify opportunities for development to draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply systems and for co-locating potential heat customers and suppliers.

Local planning authorities should support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy, including developments outside areas identified in local plans or other strategic policies that are being taken forward through neighbourhood planning.

When determining planning applications for renewable and low carbon development, local planning authorities should

a) not require applicants to demonstrate the overall need for renewable or low carbon energy, and recognise that even small-scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions; and

b) approve the application if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable. 

Once suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy have been identified in plans, local planning authorities should expect subsequent applications for commercial scale projects outside these areas to demonstrate that the proposed location meets the criteria used in identifying suitable areas.


Planning and Energy Act 2008

  • Reasonable requirement renewable inclusion in planning

Provisions in the Planning and Energy Act 2008 also allow development plan policies to impose reasonable requirements for a proportion of energy used in development in their area to be energy from renewable sources and/or to be low carbon energy from sources in the locality of the development.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

  • Local Authority jurisdiction for <50 MW renewable installation

  • Waiver of buffer zones for renewable development

Local planning authorities are responsible for renewable and low carbon energy development of 50 megawatts or less installed capacity (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990).

Local planning authorities should not rule out otherwise acceptable renewable energy developments through inflexible rules on buffer zones or separation distances. 


Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017


  • Right to set increased energy performance standards

  • Power to set requirements above and beyond building regulations

In their development plan policies, local planning authorities:

* Can set energy performance standards for new housing or the adaptation of buildings to provide dwellings, that are higher than the building regulations, but only up to the equivalent of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
* Are not restricted or limited in setting energy performance standards above the building regulations for non-housing developments.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

  • Mandated Local Plan renewable inclusion

Section 19(1A) requires local planning authorities to include in their Local Plans “policies designed to secure that the development and use of land in the local planning authority’s area contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change”. 



Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2019), National Planning Policy Framework

Planning and Energy Act 2008, [Planning and Energy Act 2008]( 

Housing and Planning Act 2016, [Housing and Planning Act 2016](

Department for Communities & Local Government (2017), Neighbourhood planning (clause 1-5)

Department for Communities & Local Government (2017), Local Plans (clause 6 – 11

Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, [Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017]( 

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, [Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004](

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, [Town and Country Planning Act 1990](