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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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Sunday, 23 August 2015
James L
10:43 PM

Thinking of moving from Freebies to Freesat due to signal problems (Can't get all HD channels) and weather. Any advice?

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James L's 11 posts GB flag

10:47 PM

James L: Get a quad LNB, and a decent PVR (Humax). Have a look at the Satcure website for advice, and I'm sure there will be lots here. Remember that sat is less flexible than Freeview - each programme your watching/recording needs a tuner/LNB, etc. And that included TV's in other rooms, although some TV's have them fitted.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
MikeB's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Monday, 24 August 2015

7:40 AM

To clarify that said by MikeB, you will need a satellite receiver, maybe one that has a built-in PVR so you can record programmes. You will need a dish, but check whether planning permission is needed if you are in a conservation area or a listed building, and it should not be bigger than 100cm across, most southern areas don't need one that big but farther north may do. A quad LNB gives you flexibility to add additional devices, some TVs have sat receivers already and need one cable feed, the PVR normally needs two feeds (hence the quad advice). The adjustment of the dish is critical to get the correct signals properly, so it's worth having it professionally installed.
Some PVRs may have an RF output that can be distributed around the home, but they are getting fewer as more TVs offer digital reception only. It is possible to distribute the satellite signals too, but that gets complicated and loads of cables! Depending on the equipment design, it is usually possible to view one programme whilst recording another.
You can compare what programmes you would get by looking at the channel listings, at Freesat Channels - Free Satellite TV, HD and Radio Channels and

Freeview Channels | Freeview
These show what channels are currently be broadcast.

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MikeP's 215 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 31 May 2016
A. Burgess
11:31 AM

What are the regulations for siting a dish to a house if it overhangs a public footpath. Also if a neighbour erects a scaffold in the rear garden and the scaffold blocks my signal whose responsible for moving the dish temporarily to a new position and then reinstating it to its new position when the work is finished.

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A. Burgess's 1 post GB flag

7:00 PM

A. Burgess:

You are allowed to site a dish on the face of a house nearest the road, even if it overhangs a public right of way - provided that it is well clear of any passing pedestrians and does not cause any danger or risk to people passing. So it needs to be well above head height of the tallest expected pedestrian and it is commonly taken to meant the lowest part being at least 2.4 metres (8 feet) above the ground. If you already have an aerial then you are allowed one dish as well, but no more than that.

Regarding the scaffolding, there is no legal requirement for the neighbour nor scaffolders to consider your TV reception at all. If such scaffolding is to be erected on the actual boundary between the properties then the Party Wall Act applies, see Preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK for some useful information. If your satellite or terrestrial reception is affected then it is your resppnsibility in law - but it is always worth talking to the neighbour before any such work is started and come to an agreement between both parties about costs involved in remedying a temporary disruption due to the building work.

Hope that helps?

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
8:10 PM

My new neighbours want to install a satellite dish on their roof. To do this the installers will need to access my property to do their work, which I am fairly relaxed about, provided they are careful not to cause any damage. I don't have a satellite installation myself but the neighbour has offered to pay for the installer to run one of the four channels (2-cables) to my property. I understand I would then be able to receive and record programs etc., with the appropriate Sat box, which I would need to purchase.
1. Would this installation be safe, as I have read somewhere that an earth cable may need to be run in parallel?
2. what would be the pitfalls of doing this?
3. Any other advise welcome
Regards Denzil.

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Denzil's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 7 December 2016

5:05 PM


Satellite dishes in the UK DO NOT need an earth connection, indeed that could be dangerous as it would make the dish attract lightening! The same applies to Freeview aerials. Other countries may have different thoughts but in the UK they are definitely not required. (Remember that I wrote some of the installation guides when the Astra satellites as used by Sky and others were launched.)

As for sharing, that is not a good idea as it connects your house supply to theirs, even if indirectly. If your property is on a PME mains supply system it would be detrimental to the safety of that system. Further, it links your satellite equipment to theirs and if there is any problem with their mains supply it will affect you house too! So though it sounds an interesting idea it is not a good one and should be avoided at all costs because of the inherent potential dangers.

If you agree to the contractors access your property, even if only your garden, make sure that your neighbour and the contractor understand that they are fully responsible for all the work and any problems or damage cause by such work. You do not have to grant then permission to access but if you do you should require them to provide an insurance indemnity against any damage or legal issues.

If you decide you want a satellite service, have your own dish installed on your property. Bear in mind that such dishes must comply with planning regulations.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Thursday, 11 January 2018
4:44 PM

I live in a grade listed one floor cottage. My neighbour has installed a large dish about a metre wide about 4ft away level with my front door (back of his house). His house isn't listed, has he broke any planning laws.

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.comRichard's 1 post GB flag

8:24 PM


The only possible error would be if the dish is larger than permitted. Check through the planning guide at Frequently asked questions | Planning Portal

Note that there are some rules differences between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I assume his dish is entirely within his property and not encroahing into yours. If it is, that does break the rules.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Saturday, 16 March 2019
David Perrin
7:40 PM

Hello, I have brought my 1m motorized dish with me when I moved house recently. The new house is in a bit of a dip with high trees in the general direction that the dish would need to point in. I would like to ground-mount it at around 1 m above the ground. As this will be trial and error to start I don't want to make it permanent yet. I have the necessary equipment to be able to fabricate a temporary pillar. I would like to pick up any free European channels especially French ones. Can you give me an idea of the direction and angular elevation that I should start searching on with the sat-finder. I am near Bridgend in South Wales.

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David Perrin's 1 post GB flag
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