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Energy efficiency guidance for householders

Get advice on whether planning permission is required for common retrofit measures.

Published on: 14 March 2022

Last updated: 10 January 2023

Planning and the Climate Emergency

Our Climate Emergency Action Plan identifies that up to 86% of Westminster’s carbon emissions are produced from the energy used in our homes. To tackle the climate emergency, we need to take action to upgrade our homes so they are energy efficient and resilient to a changing climate.

There are many ways you can retrofit your home and introduce measures which will reduce your energy use. If you are already considering building an extension or undertaking other renovation works to your property, this is a great opportunity to undertake additional works to enhance your home's energy performance. You can find simple practical advice on retrofit in our retrofit how to guides. They explain issues to consider, what permissions you need, and how to make a successful planning application.

These pages provide a summary for householders on where planning permission is required. We will continue to update these pages to include advice on a wider range of measures.

Will I need planning permission?

This will depend on the type of property (flat or house), the details of the proposals and site location.

Generally, internal changes will not require our permission, unless the proposals relate to a listed building. See ‘quick wins’ below for examples of measures you can consider straight away, without making an application. External measures such as solar panels, air-source heat pumps and new more thermally efficient windows need planning permission in certain locations and if certain criteria are not met.

    If you are in a conservation area or an article 4 property it is more likely you will need to make an application or adhere to certain conditions. If your project is to a listed building, it will typically need our permission, including for internal alterations.

    The pages below provide advice on planning permission for some commonly proposed measures. Before you read this you should check if you are:

    How can I make an application?

    If permission is required, you can apply online via the planning portal.

    Read more about how to make an application and the information you need to submit.

    How can I get help?

    Find simple practical advice on retrofit in our retrofit how to guides. They explain issues to consider, what permissions you may need, and how you can make a successful planning application.

    To help householders take action on the climate emergency, we now offer a discounted rate of planning preapplication advice for residents who wish to make environmental improvements to their properties, including listed buildings. This applies to changes to windows, installation of heat pumps, green walls and solar panels in flats and single houses.

    A planning officer can give more detailed site-specific advice about whether your proposal will likely be accepted through our pre-application advice service. 

    Get pre-application advice

    You can also read our Environmental SPD for more detailed advice.