Air Quality - Biomass Boilers

Planning permission is not required for biomass boilers installed within existing houses and flats (flue<1m), under guidelines for "permitted development".

The current regulation of biomass boilers is dependent upon a combination of the plant size and the source of the fuel. Where fuels are derived from waste stricter controls apply.

Boilers <45kW

For most applications relating to residential combustion, emission limits apply and exempted appliances are identified for use in smoke control areas.

For new build, all but the smallest biomass installations require planning permission.

Boilers 45kW-20MW

Where the installation is a part of a new development, details of the installation need to be submitted as part of the overall planning application.Boilers within this range may require local assessment. Please download the files below and return the information request template before you apply for planning permission.

Biomass boilers

Boilers 20-50MW

These boilers require a permit, issued by the Local Authority under LA-PPC (Part B) Regulations

Boilers >50MW

These boilers will require planning approval from the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), and a LA-PPC (Part A) Permit from the Environment Agency

Summary of pollution control legislation for the operation of biomass boilers

Fuel Plant Size Pollution Control Regime Regulator
Biomass fuel arising from natural sources < 20 MWth Clean Air Act* Local Authority
  >50 MWth IPCC Environment Agency
  20-50 MWth LA-PPC Local Authority
Waste or waste derived biomass, exempt from WID <0.4-3 MWth and < 50 kg/hr Clean Air Act* Local Authority
  0.4 - 3 MWth and 50 - 1000 kg/hr LA-PPC Local Authority
  > 3 MWth and >1000 kg/hr IPPC Environment Agency
  > 50 MWth IPPC Environment Agency
Waste or waste derived biomass to which WID applied < 3 MWth WID, LA-IPPC Local Authority
  > 3 MWth WID, IPPC Environment Agency


MW = megawatt, thermal.
LA-PPC = Local Authority Pollution Prevention and Control.
IPPC = Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (Environment Agency).
WID = Waste Incineration Directive (Local Authority and Environment Agency)
*Appliance and fuel combination must be approved for operation in Smoke Control Area

More information 

Biomass Fuelled Appliances: Advice on Planning Portal