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Renewable energy

The following points aim to answer many of the common questions about renewable energy installations in Tandridge, the Council's requirement for sustainable construction in new developments and advice on domestic renewable energy.

Planning Policy

Following the adoption of the Tandridge District Core Strategy in October 2008 the Council is operating policy 'CSP14 - Sustainable Construction'.

Policy CSP14 reads: "The Council will encourage all residential development (either new build or conversion) to meet Code level 3 as set out in the published Code for Sustainable Homes. Commercial* development with a floor area of 500m2 or greater will be encouraged to meet the BREEAM "Very Good" standard.

All new residential development (either new build or conversion) and commercial* development with a floor area of 500m2 or greater will be required to reach a minimum percentage saving in CO2 emissions through the incorporation of on-site renewable energy (as set out in the table below). The requirement varies according to the type of development and in the case of dwellings, the size of development.

Development type

Percentage savings in Carbon Dioxide emissions through the provision of renewable energy technologies

Dwellings (1-9 units) 10%
Dwellings (10+ units) 20%**
Commercial* (500m2 +) 10%

Development over 5000m2 will be expected to incorporate combined heat and power or similar technology. Small scale renewable energy projects will be permitted except where there are overriding environmental, heritage, landscape, amenity or other constraints.

* Commercial includes all forms of non-residential development, for example social and leisure related development.
** Only where a developer can satisfy the Council why the higher target of 20% cannot be achieved will the lower target of 10% be applied.

How to meet the requirements of the policy

For all residential schemes and for commercial/industrial over 500m2 the Council will require an 'Environmental Performance Statement' (EPS) to be submitted with the planning application. The following steps must be clearly set out in the EPS to demonstrate how the development meets the requirements of the policy. 

Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM

1. All new residential and those commercial/Industrial developments above the threshold will be expected to provide an interim Code certificate or a letter from the BREEAM assessor showing that the proposed development has met the required standard of sustainable construction.

Percentage saving in carbon dioxide emissions through the provision of renewable energy technologies

2. Calculate the baseline energy consumption. This is the energy (electrical and heating) that would be consumed by the development when occupied over the course of a year, if the development was to be built to current Building Regulations minimum requirements.

3. Describe any energy efficiency measures that have been incorporated into the design to make improvements over Part L 2006 Building Regulations, for example, thicker cavity walls and an increased level of insulation in the roof space. It should be noted that the greater the energy efficiency, the lower the carbon emission. This will reduce the target level of renewable energy that will need to be generated within the development.

4. Calculate the 'actual' predicted carbon dioxide emissions from the development. This is the predicted carbon dioxide emissions of the entire development, taking into account additional energy efficiency measures (measured in KWh/yr for the entire development).

5. Calculate the amount of renewable energy to be generated to meet the required saving in carbon dioxide emissions.

6. Decide what renewable energy technologies will be used to make the required saving in carbon dioxide emissions. You will need to carefully consider the options (solar hot water, solar electricity, biomass boilers, wind turbines, heat pumps), and demonstrate the viability of the chosen solution to ensure that the technology will realistically meet the required saving.

What to consider when assessing energy efficiency and renewable energy in new development

  • Start to plan at the outset how you will address these requirements. Factors such as site layout, building design and orientation all impact on energy efficiency and generating renewable energy. If these are addressed early on, there will be a wider range of options that are viable and the solution is likely to be more cost effective. For example, solar thermal units are most effective on south facing roof slopes.
  • Aim to achieve the highest possible standards of energy efficiency. The greater the energy efficiency of the building, the lower its energy consumption will be. This will reduce the target level of renewable energy that will need to be generated within the development.
  • One size does not fit all. Just as with many other aspects of Planning, every scheme will have its own circumstances. For example, the solar resource (amount of sunlight available to generate renewable energy) will differ from site to site depending on overshadowing by other buildings and trees.
  • Seek advice from energy experts. Modelling the energy consumption of a development and designing to achieve high energy efficiency and integrated renewable energy generation requires particular skills. Early involvement of the right expertise can help to achieve a successful solution and avoid delays during the planning process. Advice for house builders is provided by the Energy Savings Trust and for commercial development by the Carbon Trust.
  • An energy efficient development does not have to be 'bespoke'. While some examples of energy efficient developments are conspicuous by their leading edge design, very high standards can be achieved in more 'conventional-looking' developments. Energy efficiency and renewable energy generation does not need to be at the expense of quality architecture. Many measures (such as wide cavities, insulation, ground source heat pumps) have no visual impact. New products such as solar tiles are also becoming available that have very low visual impact.
  • Do not always assume energy efficiency and renewable energy are very costly. Not all energy efficiency measures carry a net cost. For example, designing to capture passive solar energy. The growth in the market for high specification materials and micro renewable energy and higher volumes of production means increasingly competitive prices. In addition, as energy prices rise and environmental awareness increases, consumer demand for energy efficient homes can be reflected in the marketing of new development. Energy Savings Trust grants and other financial incentives (such as Enhanced Capital Allowances) can also reduce the net cost.

Renewable energy on private homes

Do I need planning permission to install renewable energy on my house?

In April 2008 the Government revised the rules about when renewable energy on private dwellings is permitted development, in other words when it would not need planning permission from the Council. We have produced a short Renewable Energy Permitted Development Guide which sets out information on this topic.

This is guidance only and where there is any doubt about whether the proposal is permitted development it is the responsibility of the householder to seek advice from Tandridge District Council or apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. For further information please contact the Duty Planning Officer on 01883 732885 or Planning applications