Local Plans, housing and carbon commitments

“Most of the Local Plans we reviewed … do not acknowledge quite how radical and challenging the 2050 zero-carbon commitment is for planning and place-making.”

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Recently, the East Devon Watch blog points to a key question in the current consultation over the District Council´s new local plan:

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HOW FAST SHOULD WE MAKE NEW-BUILD HOMES GREENER?

This is one of the issues raised in EDDC’s new local plan consultation document and is discussed in this timely press article. First, here is the relevant consultation question – see here to download the full consultation document:

Question 5: Energy efficiency of new buildings

How fast should we make new-build homes greener? | East Devon Watch

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And the ‘timely press article’ is from last week’s Guardian:

Buyers of brand-new homes face £20,000 bill to make them greener | Environment | The Guardian

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In another Guardian piece, local residents point to the contradictions between the government’s demands for more housing and its commitments on reducing our carbon footprint:

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UK plan to build 24,000 homes faces legal challenge

A plan to build more than 20,000 homes in rural Oxfordshire, championed by secretary of state for housing Robert Jenrick, is facing a legal challenge from residents who say it is incompatible with the government’s legally binding commitments to tackle the climate emergency

Sue Roberts, director of Bioabundance which is taking the legal case, said: “This is the first time a local plan has ever been challenged because of our climate and ecological crisis. This pioneering action by Bioabundance is our last chance to put our environment before housebuilder profit in South Oxfordshire.”

UK plan to build 24,000 homes faces legal challenge | Robert Jenrick | The Guardian

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The question has to be, though, as to how far local plans are taking carbon reduction seriously – as asked by the Centre for Sustainable Energy:

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Are local plans planning for the zero-carbon future we need?

Since autumn 2019, the Centre for Sustainable Energy has been reviewing and commenting on Local Plans produced by various local authorities (both rural and urban), looking at their climate policy content and collecting good practice… So this has provided a glimpse of what is going on out there, and we can make some tentative inferences.

The first thing to note is that – confirming research carried out in 2016 by the TCPA – most of the Local Plans we reviewed … do not acknowledge quite how radical and challenging the 2050 zero-carbon commitment is for planning and place-making. Indeed, the implications for planning beyond binding zero-carbon standards for new builds are dramatic enough to warrant listing…

Are local plans planning for the zero-carbon future we need? | Centre for Sustainable Energy

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There’s much work to be done:

Planning policies for zero carbon homes and communities

Local Plans and the Climate Emergency | Campaign against Climate Change

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And many would say that the current government ‘green’ proposals are not green enough:

Government faces backlash over ‘zero-carbon-ready’ homes proposal

   
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