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

Regulations for biomass boilers depend on the plant size and fuel source. Stricter controls apply to fuels derived from waste.

Boilers under 45kW

For residential combustion, emission limits apply, and exempted appliances are identified for use in smoke control areas. For new builds, planning permission is required for all but the smallest biomass installations.

Boilers 45kW-20MW

For installations in new developments, installation details need to be part of the overall planning application. Local assessment may be required for boilers in this range. Please download and complete the relevant information request template before applying for planning permission.

Download Biomass Boilers Information

Boilers 20MW-50MW

Boilers of this size require a permit from the Local Authority under LA-PPC (Part B) Regulations.

Boilers over 50MW

Boilers exceeding 50MW need planning approval from the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and an LA-PPC (Part A) Permit from the Environment Agency.

Below is a summary of pollution control legislation for biomass boilers:

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

*Appliances and fuel combinations must be approved for operation in Smoke Control Areas

Key Definitions:
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)

Further Information

For more advice on biomass fuelled appliances and planning, visit Biomass Fuelled Appliances: Advice on Planning Portal

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