Wind turbines are becoming ever more popular among homeowners with the great source of renewable energy being evermore useful in the current energy market. With this addition to any property, understandably many TESUP customers who would like to install wind turbines on their house are concerned about the legality of such an operation. This is mostly covered by planning permission for domestic properties to install domestic wind turbines. The planning permission rules and laws vary from country to country and even locally within different districts of a given country. Due to this variability of laws and rules it can be difficult for anyone looking to install a wind turbine to make sure their installation complies with their local rules.
This blog will highlight a few things you should look into and consider if you are looking to purchase yourself a windturbine to install on your property. We will particularly focus on the planning permission constraints put in place by governments and local governing bodies in the countries of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Germany. We will also look at some general tips for those outside those countries to get you started with some planning permission considerations when installing a small domestic wind turbine on your property.
First we will look at the United Kingdom. Within the UK different requirements for wind turbines are applied dependingon which country you live in: England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Island, it isalways necessary to get planning permission to install a turbine. In England it is usually required to get planningpermission for a wind turbine, however there are exceptions where planning permission is not needed. Planningpermission is not needed if the turbine is classed as ‘permitted development’. Generally this applies when the property hasnot already had a wind turbine or heat pump installed. More information on these cases can be found at this link:
In terms of what requirements need to be met to achieve planning permission, these also vary by country within the UK.Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish planning permission requires: That the wind turbine must be the only one present onthe property; That the turbine is situated 100m from the boundaries of another property and that the wind turbine is notlocated in an area of special interest such as a conservation area, world heritage site, area of scientific interest or on thegrounds of a listed building. More information can be found here:
England has requirements specific to the type of wind turbine. For building mounted turbines the requirements are that: the property must be detached; the top of the turbine blades should not be more than 3 metres taller than the height of the property or 15 metres above the ground; the turbine is at least 5 metres from the boundaries of the property. For pole mounted turbine installations the top of the turbine must not be more than 11.1 metres off the ground and the turbine should be at least 1.1 times its own height away from the property boundary (So if your turbines total height is 8 metres it should be 8.8 metres from the edge of your land) If your turbine installation meets these requirements it will likely be approved for planning permission, just apply to your local council or planning committee. The considerations for someone wanting to set up a turbine in the USA are similar. The planning permission or buildingpermits as they are commonly referred to, are a bit trickier to pin down. The permits are generally based on zoningrequirements and restrictions applied to the neighbourhood a property resides in. The issuing of building permits isgenerally controlled by local authorities. As the USA is such a large country, with many local authorities it can be difficultto summarise the rules and regulations around installing a wind turbine on your house.
Generally it is best practice to contact your local authorities such as a local building inspector or planning board who canprovide you with a list of requirements that your wind turbine installation must follow to be acceptable. Although it isdifficult to give specifics there are a few general points that you should consider: Residential zones usually have a limit of35 feet applied so any turbine exceeding this may require additional paperwork; Noise issues with the turbines, althoughthe sound emitted by wind turbines is barely perceptible some neighbours may be concerned; Also, anyone looking to install a wind turbine on their property should check if their property falls under the influence ofa home owner’s or neighbour’s association. This organisation may object to a wind turbine based on a number of reasonssuch as a wind turbine not fitting the aesthetic or character of the neighbourhood, potentially blocking views from housesor generating too much noise. Some of these issues can be resolved by providing contextual data about the wind turbine you would like to install such as noise emission data or edited photos of the turbine installation.