Before you start...
If you're thinking about installing a system to generate your own heat, make sure your home is as well insulated as it can be so your heat-producing system can be most efficient.
Stop wasting energy; start taking action! This is the section to get you started on energy-saving, whether it's changing your habits or improving your home – save energy and save money!
The better insulated your home is, the less money you'll spend heating it. Find out more about different types of insulation, including draught-proofing, double glazing, and insulation for lofts and walls.
The latest on energy-efficient boilers to save you energy and money, and the right controls to use as little energy as possible, whatever the age of your boiler. No boiler? Find out about controls for electric systems too.
Renewable and low-carbon technologies are good for the environment and good for your pocket too - with government financial incentives, it’s never been a better time to install. Find out more now!
Get inspiration for your own community projects from a range of case studies in PDF and video format; find extensive advice about funding your project; and explore our range of project tools.
Find out whether a small-scale domestic wind turbine is right for you, and what kind of planning permission you'll need.
The amount of electricity a wind turbine can generate depends on the wind speed on your site. For a wind turbine to be economically valuable, you need an average wind speed of at least five meters per second (5m/s) in an area free from turbulence caused by surrounding obstacles such as trees or buildings. There are a range of tools that let you find out whether you have an adequate wind speed in your area for a wind turbine. Find out how to measure your wind speed.
Assessing wind speed is crucial to the economic viability wind turbines; it is therefore very important to measure wind speed before taking any decision to proceed.
Not enough wind speed? Explore other renewable and low-carbon technologies to suit your home with our Renewable Selector.
Wind turbines work best in exposed locations, without turbulence caused by obstacles such as trees or buildings.
Go to the RenewableUK website for information on siting a small wind turbine. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries.
Is your home located away from the local grid? Small domestic wind systems are particularly suitable for use in remote locations where mains electricity is unavailable. Unless the gird is very close by, the cost of getting a mains connection can easily be more than the cost of installing an independent wind power system. Find out more about off-grid possibilities.
Planning permission is required to install a wind turbine in Wales or Northern Ireland. Contact your local authority for details.
In England and Scotland, a domestic wind turbine may be classified as Permitted Development, in which case planning permission will not be needed. However, the criteria are complex, and very different in England and Scotland, so we recommend that you contact your local planning office at an early stage to check whether planning is required.
From 1st December 2011, wind turbines mounted on domestic buildings will be considered Permitted Development provided they meet certain criteria.
For building-mounted turbines, the criteria include:
For pole-mounted turbines, the criteria include:
And for both types of turbine:
These lists are not comprehensive, and additional criteria apply if the turbine is in a conservation are, World Heritage Site or similar. Read the full legislation at the government's legislation website, or contact your local planning office for guidance.
All the turbines in the table below will currently require a formal application for planning permission due to their height and swept area.
In Scotland, a building-mounted wind turbine requires planning permission, but other domestic-scale machines are considered permitted development unless:
In addition, before beginning the development the developer must apply to the planning authority for:
The application also needs to be accompanied by a range of other information and a number of other conditions apply. Download a PDF of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Domestic Microgeneration) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2010 for full details.
This legislation is under review, so please contact your local authority to check the position before installing a turbine.
One of the things that your local planning authority (LPA) might consider necessary if the hub height of the turbine exceeds 15m (or more than two turbines are proposed) is an Environmental Impact Assessment to assess any environmental impact of the proposed turbine. Even if it is less than this, they may, after consultation with stakeholders such as the Environment Agency and Natural England, request things like a bat or bird survey which can be prohibitively expensive.
In addition to any additional documents that your LPA ask you to submit, all applications for planning permission require:
Before making an application for planning permission you should discuss your plans your neighbours and other third parties who may have an interest in your plans in order to address any concerns that they have. It is also advisable to contact your local planning authority before submitting a planning application to discuss the information they will require with the planning application on the following planning issues:
Although it might be possible to do this by telephone, it is often better to do this at an informal meeting with a planning officer. This is known as pre-planning advice and it is something that some LPAs charge for, so check beforehand whether or not there will be a charge.
Many turbine manufacturers and installers produce planning packs covering issues such as noise, safety and visual impact to help their customers provide the information they need for a planning application. In addition many installers can offer as an additional service the preparation and submission of the planning application. It is a service worth asking for if you do not feel confident about making the planning application as it can be a long and complex process.