Installing certain renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and biomass boilers, has now been made simpler since Permitted Development Rights were introduced in April 2008. In England, requirements for planning permission for most domestic microgeneration technologies have now been lifted. There are, however, certain restrictions. For example, roof mounted solar PV and solar thermal panels are permitted unless they protrude more than a certain distance or are on the principal elevation facing onto or visible from the highway in buildings in Conservation Areas. Different restrictions apply to stand alone solar PV and solar thermal panels.

Mendip District Council: For specific questions on planning in Mendip, you will need to contact the planning department based in Shepton Mallet. Permission will be dependent on such things as scale and location of the project and whether its listed building. Even if your home is in one of Mendip's 20 conservation areas or is one of the 3000 listed buildings in the district, planning officers will be able to talk to you about options and alternatives. In most cases, planners are prepared to discuss proposals before they are formal applications. To make pre-application enquiries, write to the council setting out your proposals and enclosing information and drawings etc, or telephone or visit the Duty Planning Officer in the council offices (no appointment needed). The Development Control Department at Mendip District Council is accessed via customer services, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 5BT, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone 01749 648999.

The UK Planning Portal: This is the government's online service for planning, and it includes an 'interactive house' which is a simple visual guide outlining common household projects. Links take you to further information including a section on greener homes.

South West Planning Aid: This is a free, independent and professional advice service on town and country planning issues. The service is available to both individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay professional fees. Visit e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0117 929 7292