Consultation on changes to permitted development rights

The Scottish Government is carrying out a review of permitted development rights (PDRs). PDRs provide flexibility for homeowners to carry out certain types of development without a planning application having to be approved by the relevant planning authority.

The consultation focuses on addressing matters relating to the cost and climate crises and proposes some changes to PDRs covering the installation of renewable energy equipment and thermal efficiency improvements such as solar panels and replacement windows. This focus reflects the important role that such equipment can play in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs for households.

Fairly extensive PDRs already exist for renewable energy equipment and thermal efficiency improvements. Changes proposed by the consultation include:

  1. Extending PDRs to allow the installation of solar panels on domestic properties in conservation areas in some circumstances. Specifically, the government is considering allowing solar panels attached to the rear elevation of a property, or the side elevation provided it does not front a road.
  2. Allowing solar panels to be installed on a wider range of outbuildings within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse.
  3. Making changes to the permitted number, size and location of air source heat pumps on domestic buildings.
  4. Removing the requirement that an air source heat pump installation in a conservation area must be at ground level.
  5. Making changes to the PDRs for wind turbines including changes related to turbine dimensions and location.
  6. Due to concerns about the adequate dispersal of pollutants and the impact of cumulative emissions on air quality, removing PDRs for flues for wood burning stoves (including wood burners and log burners), biomass boilers and biomass heating systems. This would not be retrospective and so would not affect existing flues or chimneys.
  7. Introducing PDRs for the replacement of windows on buildings within conservation areas – subject to conditions or limitations specifying that:
    • the PDRs do not apply in World Heritage Sites;
    • for windows situated on the front elevation of the building, or the side elevation fronting a road, the PDRs would only apply if the replacement window matches the existing window with respect to its opening mechanism, the dimensions and colour of its frame and astragals and the number, orientation and colour of panes.

The consultation runs until 23 August 2023 and can be responded to through the citizen space consultation hub.

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