Business activities relating to renewable energy and environmental management are regulated by the following legislation. This is not an exhaustive list, and legal advice should always be taken before making any business decisions.

  • The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 establish when planning permission is required for energy-generating developments that generate 50 megawatts or less, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, air source heat pumps, solar panels, anaerobic digesters and biomass plants.

  • The Planning Act 2008 requires renewable and low carbon developments that have a capacity of over 50 megawatts to be considered by the Secretary of State for Energy before planning permission is granted. However, the Government is currently reviewing this requirement.


See also: An overview of insurance cover for business


  • The Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 require planning applications for developments that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment (such as hydropower plants) to be accompanied by an Environmental Statement.

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