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Avoiding the planning heat from your biomass boiler

Farming | Published:

Landowners and farmers who have, or are considering installing, a biomass boiler are being reminded that they need to obtain planning permission.

But don’t worry if you haven’t got planning permission as we can help.

Recent audits by OFGEM – that's the Office of Gas & Electricity Markets – of renewable heat installations (RHI) have requested copies of planning permission.

If planning permission is not available at audit, RHI payments will be suspended until planning permission is available. Planning permission has always been a requirement for RHI accreditation, but until May 22 last year OFGEM had not required to see that permission.

To avoid any disruption of cash flow derived from RHI subsidy income we would recommend to all those who have had a biomass boiler installed to make sure they have the correct planning permission in place immediately.

There are two potential exceptions to having planning permission if you already have a biomass boiler.

These are, firstly, that it may be possible that the installation could qualify as permitted development. This would normally be the case for boilers under 45kW but has been applied to larger boilers in limited cases.

And secondly, equipment that has been installed for more than four years may have ‘deemed’ planning permission. OFGEM will accept deemed planning permission but they will need to see proof that this is the case.

We appreciate that this news may come as an unpleasant surprise to those landowners who have already got a biomass boiler without obtaining planning permission.

However, there's no need to fret, as all you need to do is seek the help of professionals, such as our team of rural surveyors, who are always on hand to offer advice and assistance.

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners

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