Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Planning to reduce carbon emissions 2

Less than a year ago I posted a link to the first edition of Planning to Reduce Carbon Emissions which claimed that land use planning could, if used to its full, be responsible for a 50% reduction in emissions  - perhaps with a few relatively minor tweaks to the law.  Quite a lot has happened on the research front and the transport section was criticised as being too weak, so here is an updated version. Planning to reduce carbon emissions 2

The Government promised to publish an Emissions Reduction Plan  in early 2017.  Nothing has appeared although it has (ominously) been renamed a Clean Growth Plan. And we know from a photograph taken of a civil servant's file that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are to be scaled back while the Government concentrates on Brexit being seen to have a rosy economic glow.

While the ERP/CGP is awaited (and Client Earth seem to be losing patience by issuing veiled threats of legal action) some councils are already doing their bit.  Lambeth LBC (and there might be others) is already requiring buildings to emit 35% less carbon than the equivalent built to Part L of the Building Regulations. And the developer is also expected to make a financial contribution to the council to enable the 65% of carbon emissions to be offset!  The assessment of planning applications is being carried out by environmental consultancy Bioregional.  I have seen an appeal against 4 conditions on a planning permission containing a condition along these lines but this particular condition was not challenged, a sign of general acceptance/approval of this approach to emissions reduction/clean growth or that appeals have been tried and failed.  But where is Sajid Javid and Gavin Barwell, our Secretary of State and Planning Minister? The ERP is the responsibility of Nick Hurd MP in the Business Department but January's Housing White Paper is in DCLG's court and it said next to nothing about carbon.

How can much criticised planning authorities progress with their local plans when a fundamental part of the evidence base (ie the ERP/CGP) is being withheld or delayed by the Government that has been their greatest critic?

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