The 2023 Update to Flat Roof Planning Permission in the UK

17th Apr 2024

close up solar panel in rain

The UK government’s recent update to Permitted Development rules in November 2023 marks a significant step forward in the country’s renewable energy journey. This change, particularly impactful for homeowners with flat roofs, simplifies the process of adopting solar technology by aligning residential permissions with those of commercial properties.

Previously, homeowners faced cumbersome regulations that often deterred the adoption of solar panels. Now, the installation of solar panels on flat roofs does not require planning permission, provided they adhere to specific guidelines. This development promises to accelerate the transition to renewable energy solutions in residential areas across the UK.

Read more about this on our guidelines page.

Key Changes and What They Mean for You:

  1. No Planning Permission Required: Homeowners can now install solar panels on flat roofs without navigating the complexities of planning permission, streamlining the process significantly.
  2. Structural Considerations: Although planning permission isn’t needed, the structural integrity of the building remains paramount. Homeowners are advised to undertake a structural survey, usually facilitated by the installer, to ensure that the roof can support the additional weight of the solar panels.
  3. Visual Impact and Safety Regulations: To maintain aesthetics and safety, the new rules stipulate that solar installations should minimise their effect on the building’s external appearance and the local area. Additionally, any installed equipment should not extend more than 600mm above the highest part of the roof.
  4. Special Areas: For homes located in conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, or on designated land like Article 2(3) areas, specific rules still apply. In these cases, homeowners may need to seek prior approval or adhere to stricter visibility guidelines to preserve the historical or cultural integrity of the surroundings.

This easing of regulations is a clear indicator of the UK government’s commitment to reducing carbon footprints and enhancing sustainability through accessible solar technology. For homeowners, this means not only an opportunity to contribute to a greener future but also the potential for significant energy savings.

For those considering solar installation, now is an opportune time to explore how these new rules can benefit you. Sheerwater Solar is ready to assist with every step, from conducting initial structural surveys to the final installation, ensuring that your transition to solar energy is both smooth and compliant.

Interested in how these new regulations might impact your home? Contact Sheerwater Solar today for expert advice and professional installation services.

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Reaching out to Sheerwater Solar is straightforward and hassle-free. Whether you’re interested in solar panels for your home or business in Woking, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. You can contact us directly by calling 01932 627 555 or by sending an email to

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What happens next?

In most cases, we’ll need to conduct an on-site survey at your property to assess the feasibility and provide you with a tailored quote. This visit allows us to understand your specific needs and explore the potential for renewable energy solutions. Following the survey, we’ll discuss the best options for integrating solar energy into your property, including detailed costs and the installation process.

We’re excited to assist you on your journey to renewable energy and look forward to hearing from you.