Policy - Solar PV - Northern Ireland - General Guidance

Northern Irish Local Council Development Policies

Northern Irish County Councils do not have individual policies regarding the installation of solar PV systems. Planning policies for welsh councils are, instead, outlined in Planning Policy Statement 18:

General Considerations - A number of considerations need to be taken into account when installing solar PV arrays. These include: (i) whether particular systems require planning permission, (ii) the importance of siting systems in situations where they can collect the most energy from the sun, (iii) the need for sufficient area of solar modules to produce the required energy output from the system, (iv) the colour and appearance of the modules.

Listed Buildings and Designated Areas - (i) The installation of a solar array on a listed building, or on another building or structure within its curtilage, is likely to require an appication for listed building consent, (ii) when considering applications in Areas of Outstanding Beauty, Conservation Areas, Sites of SPecial Scientic Interest, National Parks or the Norfolk Broads, the potential impact on the charcater or appearance of the area should be considered, (iii) If an application for a PV array is submitted for a building close to a conservation area, or close to a listed building, its proximity to such area or buildings may be a material consideration for the local planning authority in deciding the application.

Planning Application Information - A planning application or application for listed building consent for a solar PV system could usefully include the following information: (i) the design of te module or array, (ii) photographs of the existing built environment, (iii) detail of the roof mounting arrangement, if applicable, (iv) indicative drawings of the module or array in place, (v) connection details to the building or grid if relevant, (vi) if the application involves a listed building, a photomontage of the proposed collector array could be useful.

Environmental Assessment - The Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 do not include solar energy systems specifically in Schedule 1 or 2. Any industrial scale installation for the production of electricity which exceeds 0.5 hectares, however, is listed in Schedule 2 and would therefore require a Screening Opinion. Such large scale PV installations, howeverm, are rare in the UK. Domestic or small-scale systems are not covered by Schedule 1 or 2 and are therefore not likely to require an EIA. In AONBs, conservation areas and on listed buildings, the only issues likely to be important are visual amenity and building fabric and these can be covered by a short description accompanying the planning application.

Other Authorisations/Consents - For stand-alone systems not connected to the distribution network, no additional authorisations are required. For systems that are connected to the electricity network, prior consent of NIE must be obtained in accordance with NIE's current connection process. Both small PV systems and larger systems may be required to meet Engineering Recommendations. there may be instances where the retrofitting of solar panels to an existing building will require building control consent.