At least until there is a new Prime Minister on 5 September we have Greg Clark MP as the Communities Secretary. He has responsibility for the work being carried out by inspectors, including the report issued to West Oxfordshire in respect of an Action Area Plan for the proposed Garden Village being called Salt Cross. In this case the inspector recommended the dismantling of the policies aiming to make the development zero carbon and this is the letter and attachment sent to the Mr Clark’s department.
Dear Sir or Madam
In congratulating Mr Cark on his appointment as Communities Secretary (and leveling up) I thought that he might like to have to hand his foreword to the NPPF 2012 and commitment to zero carbon housing that was shredded by George Osborn. This only makes sense if national standards were enabling zero carbon.(see extract below) Mr Clark might have become aware of a recommendation made by a development plan inspector during his predecessor’s time and this is admirably summarised by Hugh Ellis in his TCPA blog at https://tcpa.org.uk/pins-assault-on-an-exemplary-net-zero-planning-policy/ I would urge Mr Clark, as a champion of zero carbon, to stamp his authority on the Department and ensure that the inspector's (rogue) recommendation is withdrawn before it is acted on by West Oxfordshire District Council and accepted by the development industry as the position of the Government.
Daniel Scharf MRTPI
Foreword by Greg Clark
The purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development. Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations.
9. MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, FLOODING AND COASTAL CHANGE
93. Planning plays a key role in helping shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change, and supporting the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. This is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
94. Local planning authorities should adopt proactive strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, taking full account of flood risk, coastal change and water supply and demand considerations.
95. To support the move to a low carbon future, local planning authorities should: ●● plan for new development in locations and ways which reduce greenhouse gas emissions; ●● actively support energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings; and ●● when setting any local requirement for a building’s sustainability, do so in a way consistent with the Government’s zero carbon buildings policy and adopt nationally described standards.
I would urge all readers who are concerned about the impact that this decision could have on the development of garden villages and new residential development more widely, to write in similar terms to the Department of Leveling –Up, Housing and Communities to limit the damage that could be caused by a failure to use the planning system to facilitate the transition to zero carbon.