Whilst this case was a challenge to a planning permission, it must only be a matter of time until we see something similar on private rights of light.
There is often confusion between the analysis of daylight and sunlight in the context of a planning application and the private legal right of a property owner to receive light over their neighbour’s land. The regimes are completely different in terms of how light is measured and how much light is considered to be sufficient.
The interesting point here is that in the private rights context it is only light to apertures in a building, usually windows, that can be protected at law. I have had many discussions over the years about whether that right could be extended to solar panels but as the law currently stands it doesn’t.
It is easy to see public policy reasons why the right might be extended, but with Parliament tied up in knots at the moment it will be left to the courts to develop the law in this area.
An engineer who says his neighbour’s extension plans will block light to his solar panels has won a landmark High Court victory in his fight to stop the project. In a ruling that broke new legal ground, a judge said Bill McLennan’s solar panels demand respect as a small contribution to the fight against climate change. Mr McLennan generates power from an array of solar panels on the south-facing wall of his home in Wilson Avenue, Rochester. He fiercely objected when his next-door neighbour, Ken Kennedy, sought planning permission for a rear extension, complete with dormer.