Solar and wind powered sign on The Struggle, above Ambleside copyright Helen Reynolds

Renewable energy

Renewable energy in the Lake District National Park

Renewable energy does not run out and is quickly replenished by nature.

Will I need to submit a planning application?

In some cases the Government grants planning permission for smaller works and changes of use. These are known as permitted developments and can take place without submitting a planning application.

For advice on permitted development rights, including useful mini-guides, check out the Planning Portal - do you need permission? (opens in new window)

Types of renewable energy source

Solar thermal

Solar-thermal systems create hot water using sunlight. In Cumbria they are effective from late February to late October. And even on sunny winter days they pre-warm the water. You need a south-facing pitched roof, 40 degrees is ideal. The energy stored is captured in a hot water cylinder.

Solar voltaic

These systems generate electricity from sunlight. Currently more expensive than solar thermal systems, the cost is coming down as the technology becomes more widely available. As well as generating free electricity, you can claim Feed-In Tariffs to help reimburse your investment - contact the Energy Saving Trust (opens in new window)

Small scale hydro electric schemes

There are streams and becks all over the Lake District National Park that may be suitable for small-scale hydro schemes. Some of these waterways have significant ecological values and you will need to demonstrate that your scheme does not adversely impact them. More details can be found in our hydropower section.

Biomass boilers

These are generally wood fuel heating systems. Stand-alone stoves or boilers are available that you can fuel with pellets, logs or chips.

A really useful guide we've co-funded is the Warmth from wood booklet (opens in new window). It gives details from real-life installations on cost, heat output and number of radiators fuelled. There are good sources of wood fuel in many parts of Cumbria. You can claim Renewable Heat Incentive payments for domestic biomass boiler installations - contact the Energy Saving Trust (opens in new window).

Small-scale wind turbines

Modern wind turbines vary in size and power output. It is best to have the turbine high on a mast or tower. However small-scale building-integrated wind turbines are becoming available. Our renewable energy policy (CS16) does not prevent small scale wind turbines, but we do have to consider the landscape impacts.

Ground source heat pumps

These transfer heat from the ground into a building to provide space heating. They can also pre-heat domestic hot water. If you are considering ground source heat pumps you need to use electricity to operate the pump.

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat exchange systems vary in size, but can be as small as a standard bathroom or kitchen fan. They are relatively easy to install, energy efficient and extract heat from the air outside for space heating inside, like a refrigerator in reverse. Air source heat pumps use electricity to operate the pump.

Saving energy

Loft and cavity wall insulation can reduce your gas and electricity bills. Heavy curtains are as effective as double glazing at keeping heat inside your home.

Loft insulation is particularly effective as so much heat is lost through your house's roof. You can buy other loft and tank insulation materials from DIY shops.

We recommend sheep's wool insulation for older buildings because it absorbs moisture and protects the building.

You might also want to consider installing a chimney balloon - check out the video from Sustainable Staveley (opens in new window)

Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas

Living in a Conservation Area means you may need planning permission to install renewable energy schemes, including solar thermal and solar PV. If you live in a listed building or within the Article 4 area of Keswick you will require planning permission and possibly Listed Building Consent.

English Heritage's guides help historic building owners to improve energy efficiency or add renewable energy in a sympathetic way:

Also the Peak District National Park has a useful guide:

What funding is there towards renewable energy?

We are working in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust (opens in a new window). Contact the Energy Saving Trust advice centre if you would like free and impartial advice about:

You could also contact your local District Council and Cumbria County Council.

Further links

The following links to websites are offered in good faith. The Lake District National Park Authority has no control over the content of the sites and no endorsement of any of the products or services contained on the sites is implied.

All links open in a new window.

Duty planner and planning surgeries

Would you like to informally discuss whether you need to apply for a planning application or other pre-application advice? Please talk to a Duty Planner or attend one of our regular planning surgeries - take a look at Contact us and advice.