Agenda item

Local Plan Climate Emergency Policy Approaches

This report provides Members with some background as to what approaches they want to take in the local plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through development.


The committee received a report outlining measures for action in response to the climate crisis.  The proposed approach for policy in the new Local Plan covered:

·         Raising standards for new development

·         Encouraging renewable energy and battery storage

·         Making use of existing opportunities for utilising waste heat

·         Tackling embodied carbon

·         Adaption to the effects of climate change

·         Implications for neighbourhood planning


The Portfolio Holder for Climate Action and Emergency Response outlined to the committee her views on the approaches required, including:

·         All developers to build properties to a high level of energy efficiency, particularly because any retrofit to existing buildings is of high cost;

·         Mandatory walking and cycle paths

·         Include tree planting as requirement for the benefit of wildlife corridors

·         Welcomes approach for embodied carbon, seeking to abolish the demolition of existing buildings so that existing foundations are utilised;

·         Avoiding development on flood zones


Debate included:

·         Differing forms of batteries available, such as compressing and releasing air;

·         Electric cars were only part of a solution, and hydrogen combustion engines were the way forward for larger vehicles and plant and machinery;

·         Concerns regarding zoning of solar and wind locations, as having a map of areas where solar and wind options could be considered was concerning to rural residents; utilising roof areas on existing buildings was a better option.  In response, the setting out of location of such areas was explained as a requirement under the NPPF and the location related to where there was connectivity to the grid as well as suitable conditions for optimum energy production.  Control over what could be delivered in those zones would be through a criteria based policy; there was also reference to solar panels on roofs within the proposed approach;

·         Promotion of solar panels on roofs should be undertaken before considering further solar farms within the countryside;

·         Community solar schemes exist in some areas of the District and should be encouraged further for future schemes;

·         Higher building standards would lessen the need for energy from district heating networks;

·         Travel plan requirements for new developments should include walking and cycling routes, as well as integration with public transport networks; a holistic approach was required to planning transport options for the future;

·         Further development of the proposed approaches should be fully considered by the relevant Portfolio Holders;

·         Include other means of carbon capture into the Local Plan; the committee were reminded that any plans relating to marine life did not fall into the remit of the Local Plan; control through the planning process could not provide for all climate actions – as an example, planning a forest would not require planning permission;

·         Recent Government consultation on building standards suggests that these may fall to building regulations and therefore the standard can be improved further, but an outcome on this is still awaited;

·         District heating systems are promoted because they provide the infrastructure to enable them to connect to other renewable energy sources as they become available;

·         NPPF is not currently that ambitious for climate actions; any draft Local Plan must comply with the NPPF;

·         Look to include microgeneration from water sources such as rivers where possible;

·         Look to retain planting schemes around solar farms so that wildlife benefit increases over time. Such schemes should include detail on biodiversity net gain;

·         Limit the scale of commercial anaerobic digesters.  In response the committee were informed that further research would be required in order to establish what an acceptable scale would be;

·         Further debate and finessing of the proposed approaches was still possible as the draft Local Plan was progressed.


1. The Strategic Planning Committee notes the initial approaches to tackling the climate emergency through the local plan as set out in the report subject to amending the approach suggested under section 5 on Encouraging renewable energy and battery storage as follows:


“5.5 It is proposed that in order to maximise opportunities for delivering renewables and provide certainty to the industry, suitable areas for solar and wind energy are proposed. This approach was also strongly supported in the Issues and Options consultation and it would equate to a significant uplift in support for renewables, which matches the Council’s ambition to tackle the climate emergency. Suitable areas proposed must be subject to clear biodiversity net gains.

5.6 In addition, a policy of general support for renewable technology, including community energy schemes in other parts of the District will be supported, subject to an assessment of impacts

5.7 However Industrial scale anaerobic digesters are not considered suitable developments, and agreement to the scale of such digesters is subject to further evidence coming forward.”

and welcomes further member contributions.


2. The Strategic Planning Committee requests a further report on this subject

Supporting documents: