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Householder guide to satellite dishes

Installation of satellite television dishes: householder's planning guide

Installation of satellite television dishes: householder's plan
published on UK Free TV


This Planning Guide is the Government's statement of good practice on the siting of satellite television dish antennas in England and Wales. It has been prepared with, and agreed by, representatives of the satellite television industry and local planning authorities.

The purpose of this guide is:

  • First to protect our environment from unnecessarily large, unsympathetic or poorly sited satellite dishes.
  • Second to make you, as a householder, aware of the need for the appropriate siting of satellite dishes.
  • Third to help retailers and installers provide improved advice and service to householders on the siting of satellite dishes.

Before you buy or rent a dish, check whether you need planning permission, listed building consent or owner's/ landlord's consent.

Remember, you are responsible for the appropriate siting of satellite dishes; if you have any doubt, contact the planning department of your local council or seek independent professional advice.

Checklist for Selection, Purchase, and Installation

  1. Check if you need the landlord's, or owner's consent.
  2. Don't allow a dish to be installed without first finding out whether or not you need planning permission or listed building consent.
  3. Use reputable and authorised suppliers and installers.
  4. Select a dish no larger than the minimum required for good reception.
  5. Site the dish in an inconspicuous place, preferably where your neighbours and the public cannot see it.
  6. Avoid breaking the skyline with the dish and, whenever possible don't site it in front of the house.
  7. Select a dish that blends in with its chosen background.

Respect the environment. The cheapest option may not be the most environmentally friendly.

Don't forget that you are responsible for having it installed; poor siting may lead the council to require you to re-site the dish at your own expense.

Satellite TV technology continues to evolve: you should be aware of the different kinds of system so that you can make an informed choice.

Is a planning application required?

A general permission exists under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, as amended by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) Order 1998 for satellite dishes in certain circumstances. These are explained below according to different house types and areas.

If you are a tenant or a leaseholder (i.e. you do not own the house you live in), then the landlord's or owner's consent to install a dish is usually required, unless it has already been given, as well as any other necessary permissions.

1 Do you live in a house that is not in a conservation area, a National park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk Boards?

Then you do not need to apply for planning permission to install a dish on that house, provided that:

  • there will not be more than one dish on the building or in the garden;
  • the dish does not exceed 90cm in size;
  • if the dish is installed on the roof, it does not protrude above the highest part of the roof;
  • in the case of an installation on a chimney stack, the dish does not exceed 45cm in size and is not higher than the highest part of the stack.

2 Do you live in a larger block of flats (of or over 15m in height - approximately over five storeys)?

Then you do not need to apply for planning permission to install a dish, provided that:

  • the building is not in a conservation area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Broads;
  • the number of dishes (including terrestrial dish antennas) on the building as a whole does not exceed two;
  • the dish does not exceed 1.3m in size.

3 Do you live in a flat in a small block of flats or commercial premises (below 15m in height) or plan to install a dish on a commercial property (e.g. shop, pub, club, etc)? Or do you live in a dwelling house in a conservation area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Broads?

Then you do not need to apply for planning permission to install a dish, provided that:

  • the dish does not exceed the limits on size, number and siting that are set out in paragraph 1 above, and the installation is not on a chimney stack, nor on the wall or roofslope fronting the road or public footpath (or, in the case of the Broads, fronting the waterway).

In the case of flats, these limits refer to the building as a whole and not to each separate flat. If, therefore, one flat dweller has already installed a dish, planning permission is required for further installations. However, in such a case, the flat dweller may wish to examine the possibility of a shared dish.

Your supplier or installer may generally be able to advise whether an application for planning permission is required for installing a dish in a particular place. If there is any doubt you should contact the planning department of your local council; the department provides application forms if planning permission is required.

It is your responsibility for seeking, or not seeking, planning permission. If required, planning permission should be granted before installation.

Size means the measurement across any dimension of the antenna (excluding any projecting feed element, the reinforcing rim and supporting brackets).

Some buildings are 'listed' because of their special historic or architectural interest. If you live in a 'listed building', you will need to consult your local planning department. The department can advise if the building is 'listed'. If it is, you will generally need to apply for 'listed building consent', if you wish to install a dish on that building. This consent is different from planning permission and must not be confused with it.

Listed building consent is required for any dish that affects the character or appearance of a listed building or its setting.

Do you need planning permission? Have a look at the visual guide available at the foot of this document.

Minimising the Impact

It is a condition of installing a dish that you must site it in such a way that minimises its impact on the external appearance of the building and remove it when no longer needed.

You have the responsibility for the selection , the siting, the sympathetic appearance of any dish that you buy or rent.

In coming to a decision on the selection and siting of a dish, you should take account of its impact on the neighbours , the public , the environment.

The retailer or installer may be able to advise you on these matters, but if there is any doubt, then you should contact your local planning department.

Considerations for Selection, Siting and Appearance

  • a white dish may blend against a white background but may be conspicuous against darker backgrounds;
  • a mesh or transparent dish may be less obtrusive than a solid one;
  • the location of a dish on a rear wall of the building or in the garden protected by shrubs (be careful not to disrupt the line-of-sight) is usually less conspicuous than siting it on the front of the building;
  • the performance of a dish is not affected by whether it is located higher up or lower down on a building, as long as the line-of-sight with the satellite is not affected;
  • a small dish hidden behind a parapet or a chimney stack may be less conspicuous than one on the wall;
  • special consideration will be necessary where a satellite dish is to be installed on, or within the grounds, of a listed building (subject to listed building consent - see above). Where it is not possible to conceal the dish from view on the building, e.g. in a roof valley or behind a parapet, it may be better to site the dish at ground level elsewhere within the garden;
  • dishes are available in a range of makes and appearances; the choice is therefore important.

Generally the environmental concern stems from poor selection or siting of a dish or from a dish colour and appearance that contrasts conspicuously with its background.

The Consequence of Poor Siting

If your planning department thinks a dish has been sited poorly and could reasonably be positioned less conspicuously, you may be asked to re-site the dish at your own expense without having to apply for planning permission.

If such a request is refused, your planning department may then:

  1. require you to make a planning application (for which a charge is payable) on the basis that the impact of the dish on the external appearance of the building has not been minimised
  2. serve you with an enforcement notice requiring the siting of the dish to be altered in a specified way.

You are entitled to appeal if planning permission is sought and refused or if an enforcement notice is served. Grounds for an appeal could include your consideration that the chosen location is appropriate or that the measures required to be taken are excessive, perhaps giving rise to unreasonable costs.

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is an offence which can lead to a fine, unless you have successfully appealed against it.

It is in your best interest to ensure the proper selection, siting and appearance of your dish from the beginning.

Your planning department, in seeking re-siting, should use these guidelines to show, on a diagram, reasonable measures that can be taken to achieve significantly less visible locations that satisfy line-of-sight requirements and picture quality. The council cannot use this power to deny you the right to install a dish; the purpose of this guide is to give guidance on how the regulations on siting will be interpreted.

You should remove any dish which is no longer needed, for example if you change from a dish to a cable system.

Where a dish can be sited

Choice of Suppliers and Installers

Suppliers and installers should be familiar with the planning and environmental aspects of installation.

You are strongly advised to obtain your satellite reception equipment from reputable suppliers, e.g. members of the Radio, Electrical and Television Retailers' Association (RETRA), other established companies, or, where appropriate, from the broadcaster.

You are also advised to use installers who are members of the Confederation of Aerial Industries Limited (CAI) or other professionally qualified installers who adhere to an appropriate Code of Practice in line with this Planning Guide.

Reputable installers should have agreed standards for their work, in some cases guaranteed by their company; they should also be covered by Public Liability and Employer's Liability insurance.

Obtain quotations for alternative siting options and costs (e.g. on rear wall) prior to installation.

Remember, the cheapest installation option may not be the most environmentally acceptable.

Alternatives to Individual Dishes

If you live in

  • a tower block
  • a small block of flats
  • a terrace of houses
  • a semi-detached house

it may be possible to receive satellite TV broadcasts without the need for each household to install an individual satellite dish. There are two main alternatives to an individual dish:

Shared Dish Systems

Communal satellite TV systems are worth looking into if:

  • planning permission is unlikely to be granted for several dishes on a single building;
  • you think a communal system would be more environmentally friendly than for each home to have its own dish;
  • landlords or owners have prohibited individual dishes.

If you live in a tower block or large group of flats or houses, you should check first of all what provision, if any, has already been made for a communal system.

There may be a number of technical and cost options in establishing a communal system; professional advice should be obtained to ensure the chosen system offers the optimum choice of programmes at a reasonable price and with the capacity to accommodate future services.

If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, it may be possible to develop a shared system but it may be more expensive than installing individual dishes. You may require legal advice on the conditions for sharing. In any event, you should ensure that any shared system provides access to all the desired programmes.

The same planning regulations apply to communal or shared dishes as apply to individual dishes.

It is the responsibility of the landlord or the building owner to decide whether or not to allow the installation of a communal satellite TV system and to obtain any licence. Guidelines on licensing are available from the Department of Trade and Industry and Ofcom. Enquiries should be made to those bodies at the addresses below.

Cable Networks

You may wish to ask your council whether your area is served by cable television. This is particularly important where:

  • your home or building does not have a line-of-sight with the desired satellite;
  • where planning permission for a dish is not granted;
  • where a shared system is not feasible;
  • where you do not wish to have the dish on the outside of your property.

Cable networks can be another way of bringing satellite TV broadcasts to your home.

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Saturday, 13 April 2013
Les Nicol

12:28 PM

Amy - No one has the right to attach a satellite dish or for that matter any other structure to your property without your express consent. Speak to your Solicitor or local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Les Nicol's 991 posts GB flag
Friday, 10 May 2013
Margaret Mayhew
6:26 PM

My neighbour has erected a 3 ft widex3 ft deep on his side wall but we live in bungalows and its in my eye view all the time can I get him to take it down

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Margaret Mayhew's 1 post GB flag
Tuesday, 21 May 2013

7:43 AM

Margaret Mayhew : If you have lived in your current home for more than 20 years, you can require its removal, but not otherwise.

Right to light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Briantist's 38,908 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
Dora Zack-Williams
9:43 AM

Can you help me with taking down and connecting my dish, as my landlord has now provided the block of flats with a communal one? Thanks in advance.

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Dora Zack-Williams's 1 post GB flag
Thursday, 4 July 2013
lynn warbrick
1:12 PM

can you help. i live on the top floor of a 2 storey purpose built set of flats. My neighbour asked if they could put a satellite dish up and it may need to be a bit higher up than on their part of the wall would allow. i said it was fine as long as it wasn't in my eyeview. i came home the other night to find it just above my front door (their front door is over the other side of the building altogether)with a white wire right in the middle of the wall. it looks horrendous! He says that the Sky installer couldn't put it on my part of the wall because i wasn't in to give permission which i undestand, but surely this is about as invasive of my space as it could be. I am not happy that it sticks out over my front door with regards to health and safety issues. what rights do i have?

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lynn warbrick's 1 post GB flag
Sunday, 14 July 2013
gillian palmer
6:14 PM

hi,i hope someone can help me choose the correct things i need to be able to have free sat channels ,i recently changed from sky ( i have sky+HD box with sat dish)to talk talks unlimmited broadband,tv & phone package,i have had phone & broadband installed & an enginner is due on thursday to set up my you view box to my tv,i am not very technical & i do not have an aerial for tv,so i know i am facing problems,should i cancel the tv installation appt? or is there a way around this where i can use the sat dish purchase a suitable box to get free sat channels,it is so confusing for me ,i am a disabled pensioner & have no family that can help,& i could really do wiyh some advice to find the cheapest way to have some tv channels i have a 32" videocom HD TV.thanks,regards,Gillian

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gillian palmer's 1 post GB flag

9:04 PM

gillian palmer:

You must have an aerial for the Talk Talk box to work (my parents actually have the same machine, a Humax Youview, via their BT package). It does actually say about an aerial on Talk Talk's website, but its a shame they dont make it part of a checklist, to avoid any problems. You of course cannot connect the box to your dish. So these are your options:

Get an aerial. Unfortunately, you havn't included your postcode, so no one can tell you if you have a reasonable chance of getting a decent signal from an aerial. However, assuming your reception should be fine, expect to pay around £150 for a suitable aerial, high quality cable, and a wall plate near to where your TV is. You might start off here : If I need a new aerial, who can install it? | Installing | - 11 years of independent, free digital TV advice for more info and possibly a good local firm. You do at least have until Thursday, so not impossible.

For general reference - the box involved is the Humax T1010 Buy Humax DTR-T1010 YouView Smart 500GB Freeview+ HD Digital TV Recorder online at John Lewis - since it retails at £249.95. Obviously the cost of this equipment is part of any BT/Talk Talk package (in theory its free..), so it would be interesting to see if its cheaper to have the package with the box, or buy the box yourself on a different tariff.

The second option is to stay with Sky....

The third option is to replace the Sky box with a Freesat box. I'm not sure if the switchover help is still available (its been a while since it was complete), but if it was, there would be a fee of £40, and they would give you a Freesat receiver, so you could watch, but not record. Since you can buy a cheap one (Manhattan?) which is also smart for £69.95, thats not an especially attractive option, especially since your used to Sky HD!

I'd replace the Sky box with a Freesat PVR - this page will tell you how - Upgrading from Sky to Freesat
| Freesat | - 11 years of independent, free digital TV advice
. There are boxes from about £150, but the nearest mdoel to the box that Talk Talk uses is the Humax HDR 1000S Buy Humax HDR-1000S <free time> Smart 500GB Freesat+ HD Digital TV Recorder online at John Lewis - its about £230. The box can't yet do all the channels on demand (the system is called 'Freetime, rather than 'Youview').

My brother has one, and although he has some gripes about its software being a bit 'buggy', he says its easy to use and well made. Humax are certainly the brand I normally recommend.

Be aware that its only a more expensive model of this (the white one) has wifi built in, and as far as I'm aware, neither this or the Talk Talk box can be made to use wifi with the Humax dongle! On the other hand, Powerline systems or a Belkin universal wifi kit (around £50 - I sold one to a customer along with a Humax Youview box last week) will enable you to get the on-demand services without having to physically plug it into an internet cable.

There is a cheaper older Humax Freesat box called the Foxsat - they are no longer current, but you do get Iplayer, I believe you can use the Humax wifi dongle, and they are well thought of - Humax FOXSATHDR500-G Freesat twin tuner 500GB PVR (Grade A) - HUMAX UK Direct Sales Website

I'm not familiar with your brand of TV, but I assume that since you've already had Sky HD, you've got HDMI's, so the HDMI cable would simply be swapped from one box to another.

Cheapest option is to get an aerial, but it depends on whether you can get a good signal. If you can't, then swap out the Sky box for a Freesat one. If you talk to a good shop that sells such boxes, they can take you through the ones most suitable for you, and can probably fit it for a fee.

Hope you get sorted out.


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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 31 July 2013
fiona weatherall
12:11 PM

Hi,I'm after some advice. My parents(both in there80's)picture has gone green/blue. I swaped their TVs over, and the fault still happened, but only when we had it on through the freesat box.All the cables in are tight ,nothing loose. I guess I'm wondering, is i't more likely to be a fault with the box,(which I can replace for them, or with the cable coming from dish? I'm a bit unsure and don't want them getting ripped off. Any advice /help much appreciated.

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fiona weatherall's 1 post GB flag
fiona's: mapF's Freeview map terrainF's terrain plot wavesF's frequency data F's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Dave Lindsay

1:43 PM

fiona weatherall: I would say it hasn't "gone" green and blue, but that red has gone.

Check that one of the pins on the scart plug has not been bent over, which results in it not making contact. Similarly, examine the scart socket on the Freesat box. Try a different scart lead. If you don't have one to hand, swap the lead round end-to-end.

See: SCART - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pins 13 and 15 are for red. The picture under the heading "Pin out" shows the pins as when looking at the female connector (on the rear of the Freesat box). Obviously the plug will effectively be the opposite way on.

This cannot be an issue with the cable from the dish.

Failing the above, changing the video out from "RGB" to "Composite" will probably work, albeit that it isn't as good a quality picture as RGB (when it's working that is!).

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Saturday, 7 September 2013
Anthony Preston
2:27 PM

I recently contracted with Sky for their satellite TV service and dish installation. I am the owner of my apartment in a 3 storey high block of apartments.(not a tower block). the area is not a conservation area and planning permission is not required. The property is leasehold with the lease held by a management/housing association.There are similar 3 storey blocks either side of me with a total of 30 flats in the development. The engineer was unable to install saying I would need permission from the leaseholder management company. I subsequently contacted them thinking this would not be an issue as 16 of the 30 apartments already have dishes fitted. ( I have counted them) They responded to say they 'always refuse permission'. I have pointed out to them that this substantial number of residencies already have them on the development. They have failed to act previously on all these installations, which apparently contravene the terms of the lease. They have clearly been unable enforce this clause in the lease. The lease refers in numerous places to 'permission not being unreasonably withheld' on a number of matters. I feel unfairly treated for going though the proper channels. Where do I stand? I have placed this argument to them in writing and am awaiting their further response.

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Anthony Preston's 1 post GB flag
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