Revised Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Array Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Please note: The guidance within this Supplementary Planning Document is for free-standing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems falling outside permitted development rights, currently defined as having an area larger than 9 metres square.

This guidance does not apply to domestic installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The majority of roof mounted and domestic free-standing systems are permitted development. This means that these systems will not require planning permission. Details of the criteria can be found in the introduction section, which sets out when planning permission is required.

Consultation process

This planning guidance was due to form the first part of the Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Generation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), specifically providing guidance on solar PV arrays. We now intend that this document will be adopted as Solar Photovoltaic (PV) arrays Supplementary Planning Document in its own right.

The first opportunity to comment on this planning guidance was between 14th June and 12th July 2013. We received 55 comments on this draft version.

This is the second version of this SPD for solar arrays and there will be an opportunity to comment for a four week period.

If you have any comments on this guidance, please respond where possible using the online consultation system, if you would like to provide comments by email, please send these to

Feedback will be given on all further comments received (with discussions entered into as necessary) so that everyone knows how their comments have been addressed and how they will influence decision-making. We will endeavour to ensure that everyone who has commented on this is kept informed on how the relevant policy is being developed.

Our consultation procedure is set out in our Statement of Community Involvement.


1. Background

Renewable energy policy

2. Introduction

What is solar photovoltaic (PV) technology?

Is planning permission required?

Why do we need this guidance?

3. Site selection

Agricultural Land

Green Belt

Landscape and visual considerations

Biodiversity considerations

The historic environment

Flood risk Assessment

4. Site detail

Panel details

Ground works and anchoring

Security and Fencing

Access and inverter housing

Grounds and site maintenance

Grid connection

Aviation considerations

Rail considerations

5. Consultation/ Community Engagement

Community schemes

Community ownership models

6. The Planning Application

Pre-application discussions

Planning Performance Agreement

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Submitting a Planning Application

7. Monitoring and Review