Planning Permission Series: Biomass planning requirements

Planning Permission Series: Biomass planning requirements

When it comes to renewable energy, biomass is one of the most efficient and energy saving options you can choose. You can choose a system that will both heat your home and provide hot water, all while producing very little carbon into the atmosphere. If you choose to install a system as part of your extension work, you should be aware that there may be some Planning Permission requirements.

What is biomass?

A biomass boiler provides heat to your home via a burner that runs on wood pellets. In some cases this burner can also be used to burn household waste and even food waste. The energy produced is fed into the home where it is used to heat radiators, underfloor heating and hot water. It is incredibly efficient as the carbon produced is less than that absorbed by the tree during its lifetime. In this way it is considered carbon neutral.

Will I need planning?

If the biomass system work is entirely internal and uses existing flues or chimneys, you will most likely not need Planning Permission. If your flues and chimneys meet permitted development rules then you should also be OK. However there are exceptions as follows:

  • If your chimney or flue extends more than one metre above the highest part of the roof
  • If your building is listed or in a conservation area – internal changes may also need to be approved
  • Flues in conservation areas must be fitted away from public view

An outdoor shed or building

You may decide to house your biomass boiler away from your main extension and this building could require planning permission. This is especially the case if the extension has already used up your permitted development rights in terms of space. If the shed is small and you have plenty of space in your garden, you are likely to be OK. But your builder should certainly bear in mind the requirements before work progresses.

Building regulations

Biomass boilers do need building regulations approval and these rules will take into account safety, ventilation and noise. The installation must be carried out by a competent person who is a member of either the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or the Competent Person Scheme. If not you may not be entitled to any tariffs associated with your biomass boiler.