Planning’s role in keeping us on track for net zero

Over the past couple of years, SLC Property’s planning team members have worked on seven projects to install renewable energy solutions across 46 sites in England and Wales, collaborating with energy suppliers, acousticians, renewables technologists, and other professionals to provide bespoke planning solutions.

The team has helped to:

  • Lead the planning strategy
  • Produce site plans
  • Put together relevant applications for planning permission
  • Apply for Listed building consent and lawful development certificates
  • And much more!

Decarbonisation will remain a key topic in planning and development for the foreseeable future. SLCP Planners are now advising clients on the potential to utilise renewable energy proposals within larger projects, including redeveloping a Grade II listed train station:

Matthew Creedy, Head of Planning, explains more:  “We’ve learned that it’s critical to challenge assumptions about the impact of renewable energy generation on heritage buildings and townscapes, as well as on local residents and businesses, by making strong arguments from local and national policy documents – and by working closely with other professionals to demonstrate that mitigation can minimize impacts on the local area. In addition, we’ve had great feedback from our clients and project partners – they appreciate our work and our approach to problem solving.”

To achieve our national goals to limit temperature change, we need to ramp up our efforts and make renewable energy solutions in development the norm – and as planners, we have a crucial role in communicating this to the public.  The team shares their thoughts about the challenges and experiences from working on renewable projects so far:

Jo, Chartered Planner, said:  “I have enjoyed expanding my knowledge of how planning legislation relates to other legislation – and we are now guiding local authority planning departments on this. For example, on one project, I researched the relationship between permitted development rights for photovoltaic panels on non-domestic buildings and the maximum generation capacity restrictions outlined in the Energy Act, and was then able to coach the local authority Case Officer through this to demonstrate that the proposals counted as microgeneration. This led to a lawful development certificate being issued for the proposals, giving the client legal comfort that the installation was not only making a positive contribution to reducing the estate’s carbon footprint – but that it was also fully ‘signed off’ by the local planning authority.”

Rosie, Planning Assistant, said: “I have learnt a great deal about Solar PV legislation, and I successfully submitted 12 Solar PV Lawful Development Certificate applications and one for Prior Approval. This has helped to expand my knowledge about how renewables legislation fits in the wider context of planning legislation.”

Tom, Planning Assistant, said: “It’s complex to work on renewables as you have to maneuver through unfamiliar technical language relating to both PV and ASHP, looking at Site Location Plans and String Reports to identify what the applications include, whilst using your planning knowledge to assess planning history, site location and the impacts the proposed developments will have based on national and local policy.”

Sophie, Graduate Planner, said: “We have developed a key understanding of how to assess the impact of proposals on heritage assets – how to advise clients on sensitively undertaking these. These projects are often large in scale involving various sites and types of applications.”

If SLC Property could help you incorporate renewable energy proposals in your project, please get in touch by emailing