menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Freesat



Click to see updates

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.

Help with Free satellite?
What can I do when my Sky Digibox says 'No Signal' or 'Technical fau1
Can I receive UK TV in Ghana?2
What is a CA module?3
My box says "No Satellite signal being received"4
Is there any way I can get free channels via satellite and have the kind of hard5
In this section
Show me the 55 TV channels have moved to the new Astra 2G satellite 1
Good news for Freesat? Astra 2E satellite launched2
No satellite signal? Check your dish for snow!3
New satellite footprints page4
BBC satellite changes: radio, BBC ONE HD, Red button reduction 12-15 October 2015
Changes to BBC HD transmissions on Astra satellites on 20 September 20126

Monday, 7 October 2013
Helen Williamson
4:07 PM

Hi JB38 - guess neighbour has moved the satellite dish... I'm in shock! I thought I'd have to wait at least 6 months, but he moved it over the weekend. I'm really happy!

link to this comment
Helen Williamson's 6 posts GB flag

5:36 PM

Helen Williamson: Excellent! and of course the best thing is that you achieved this without apparently introducing any sort of ill feeling between your neighbour and yourself.

Anyway, many thanks for the update and pleased that the situation has now been amicably resolved, albeit that your first posting about this issue was made on an "unlucky for some" day of Friday the 13th of September.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
9:03 PM

Hi everyone i live i grade 2 listed block of flats and i have a sky satellite dish seized in the window not drilled to any walls we put it up in the morning and take it down at night or when we are out.Have been doing this for 10 years. New landlord has complained about the dish it is half sticking out of window at a angle to pick up signal it is not a permanent fixture.Do i have any rights as the dish is basically inside and not drilled to any walls.

link to this comment
john's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
6:33 PM

Help please My Freesat pictures have Horizontal white lines all across the screen
HOWEVER all the HD programes are fine any idears

link to this comment
Mike's 1 post GB flag

8:52 PM

Mike: What you have reported is inclined to suggest that a fault has developed on your box, therefore I would suggest that you carry out a "factory reset" or whatever term is used by the box suggesting the same thing, once completed follow this with another Freesat scan and where you will be requested to enter your post code, this for the purpose of enabling you to view the correct news channels / programmes etc for your area.

If you experience any problems in carrying this out then please supply the model number of the device in question.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
Thursday, 27 March 2014
12:27 PM

I had a sky tv installer last month to fit in new LNB on my existing dish. I live 3 story house and the dish is right at the top of the house with 1 metre pole this dish was installed by sky in 1999... Now this installer took one look said no chance i aint doing it.... it took me 3 months to sort it out with sky. as they said i have a new box... which didnt get installed and i had the whole thing canceled. it was very stressful time had phone calls and letters from sky begging me to go back... I will fit a new dish and LNB myself and have freesat put in myself... I am ashamed to admit i am an ex sky installer... I had to sort out everyone elses cock ups..... which made me quit coz i had so much abuse from customers.. when i put it right did i get a thanks mate... nope... so avoid sky if you live over 2 story houses... or pay £200 for a guy to do the dish.... no thanks

link to this comment
Rob's 17 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Sharon Smith
9:07 PM

I live in council flat 2 stores high i came home from work to find sky dish outside my bedroom window which the person who live underneath as had fitted i am not happy that it is outside my window which i can reach can i get it removed

link to this comment
Sharon Smith's 1 post GB flag
Brian Bonto
9:50 PM

Sharon Smith: Most people who do that kind of thing are thoughtless and couldn't care less about other peoples feelings. I don't suppose the person who owns the dish will be willing to pay to have it refitted sensibly. Unless you know better. First thing I'd do is to have a word with them, and ask if they could get the sky man back to re-site it, don't let them leave it too long, as time goes by it will become harder to get sky to call back. DO NOT mention that you can reach the dish... If they are stroppy about it and don't seem to be interested, wait until they are out, or asleep in the early hours of the morning and move the dish by pushing gently on the side of it. They will lose their signal and have to call the sky guy back. You may be when he calls and ask nicely for him to move it out of your view, ( talk to him through the bedroom window, so downstairs don't hear you). If he does, great, if not ,,,, then there is always another night/early morning, the sky guy will get fed up in the end and move it for you...

link to this comment
Brian Bonto's 1 post GB flag
Sunday, 28 September 2014
3:36 PM

Hi can anyone advise please. We came home yesterday to discover that the neighbours renting the property next door have mounted their satellite dish on the fence between our gardens. So now as soon as we walk around the corner or out of out back door it's the first thing that we see!! Is this allowed? It sits on top of the fence post attached with a bracket on their side, they have then hung the wire around the outside of their property and through a window on the other side of the house.

link to this comment
Sam's 1 post GB flag

8:58 PM

If you have any queries like this, an approach to the neighbours would be the best first step. If they are unhelpful then a call to your local planning authority my be in order.
Generally, you need to determine who owns the fence post. If it is yours, as shown by the marks on the Land Registry mapping, then they should have sought your permission prior to attaching the dish. If it is owned by their landlord then they should have sought their permission prior to fitting the dish.
It is not good practice to mount a dish that low down, the fence post will probably not be as rigid as a normal house brickwork mounting, so they may have reception problems, especially in windy weather. Plus the act of walking in front of the dish can cause disruption of their signals (but there are no known electromagnetic risks involved).

link to this comment
MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
MikeP's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Select more comments

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.