Monday, August 23, 2021

Planning can address the climate emergency

Big claim for what might seem to be a small gain but this extract from a planning appeal file:///Users/danielscharf/Downloads/Appeal%20decision%203269526.pdf "Para 72.The S106 would ensure the implementation of a travel plan that would seek to encourage sustainable transport modes via initiatives such as residential information packs (including vouchers towards cycling and bus/rail travel) and car sharing. The S106 would also make provision for an electric car club to operate from within the site. 73.Based on the above measures, the development would satisfactorily promote a range of sustainable transport modes. This would help to address concerns regarding air pollution and the climate emergency. Therefore, it would accord with LP Policies CN9 and EM1... ". This is very significant.

In granting the permission the offer of an 'electric car club' is said by the inspector to carry limited weight as it comprised one parking space for the 110 dwellings. However,  the inclusion of the obligation to provide the EV car club would probably have been deleted as unnecessary were the inspector to have given it no weight.   Local planners should get a grip of the electrification of the road transport system.  Developers should be required to provide more cars and spaces to attract greater weight in decision-taking.

The real significance of the decision is the reference to the 'climate emergency'  - the first time I have seen this referenced in an appeal decision. As a material consideration this is an invitation for the public to provide evidence to decision-takers, both; LPAs and inspectors/Secretary of State, that accords with the emergency situation eg net zero long before 2050 and Cornwall are looking at 2030 This should not be limited to electric car clubs but to the carbon emitted in the building and operation of the houses.

If the climate (and ecological) emergency  is a material consideration, then it is unlawful not to take it into account for all developments implying carbon emissions (and biodiversity loss).  It might also be unlawful to make inadequate provisions for addressing the emergency.

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