Renew On Line (UK) number73

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 173 May-June 2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. UK Needs to try harder 

2. Wave and Tidal-  ‘slow progress’

3. RO bands- no to REFIT  

4. Biofuel doubts grow 

5 Micro power- ups and down  

6. Reactions to Nuclear White paper 

7. Wind power developments  

8. Planning Changes 

9. Global developments  

10. EU News 

11. Nuclear News


8. Planning Changes 

The new Planning Policy Statement on Climate change produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) say that all councils will be expected to provide for on-site renewable energy and local community energy schemes to help cut carbon emissions from new developments, although no percentage targets are given.

However, DCLG says that councils and developers should be considering ‘things like solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps that can generate energy from on the site of new development. They should also look at the potential for connecting developments to neighbouring community heating and power schemes that can serve an entire local community’, and it’s clear that the government want acceleration and for planners to consider renewable energy access issues when looking at development plans. The DCLG said ‘councils should consider where a development is located so that it can maximise the potential for renewable energy generation. This could mean making the most of sites which are south facing so they catch the sun, sites that could use windy areas nearby, sites over aquifers for ground source heating, or those near to business and industrial development to take advantage of surplus heat created by large office and economic developments.’  

It says that these plans build on the Merton rule which requires all new non-residential developments above a certain size to generate at least 10% of their energy on-site from renewable sources and the Mayor of London’s plans to double renewable’s share of UK electricity supply from the 2010 target of 10% to 20% by 2020.  See the summary of the new rules right.

In addition, new planning rules on economic growth (PPS4), have also been published for consultation: see right. They aim to ensure that councils ‘provide greater flexibility in their plans to allow different businesses to succeed and create jobs’. Councils will be expected to ‘give greater consideration to regeneration and economic factors including by identifying more sites which can be used flexibly if business needs change’.

The DCLG says that ‘action on climate change must run alongside economic growth and increased housing’. There would seem to be some potential conflicts there! For example, the rules make clear that as the Department put it ‘councils should be drawing up proposals to cut climate change which also support the increased housing targets as well as job and regeneration too’. The buzzwords seem to be ‘green growth’, and it’s not just limited to housing. They want to include new commercial buildings, and say a new report from the UK Green Building Council, ‘makes clear that new commercial buildings must move towards achieving zero carbon too’. DCLG say they will consult but feel that ‘industry should be set a similar long term timetable for achieving zero carbon’, noting that commercial buildings currently account for 18% of carbon emissions. But they say this must be tied in with economic development: ‘The location of a development must now promote green growth where possible. The priority for any new development continues to use Brownfield land and sites which are accessible for public transport. However the new rules will mean councils should consider where a development is located so that it can maximise the potential for renewable energy generation and provide enough flexibility to allow different businesses to succeed and create jobs.’

 Planning Policy Statement on Climate Change

Ensure local plans have strong carbon ambitions and targets 

        -  To fully integrate tackling climate change into all planning policy.

- To reduce emissions, stabilise climate change and reach zero-carbon  targets and opt for designs that will cope with climate change.

- To locate new developments so they can take full advantage of local renewable and low-carbon energy opportunities.

        - To increase the emphasis on delivery so plans don’t sit on shelves.

Help to deliver decentralised renewable and low carbon energy

        - To incorporate local renewable and low carbon energy where viable.

- To apply ‘Merton plus’ rules across all councils and to go further for specific developments where possible.

        - To encourage new developments that limit carbon dioxide emissions.

        - To help existing development adopt local renewable or low carbon energy

Speed up the shift to renewable and low carbon energy

        - To set targets for renewable energy in line with national targets, or better where possible.

        - To encourage technological innovation that reduces impact on the climate.

        - To develop decentralised renewable energy generation networks.

Create communities that are resilient to the effects of climate change

        - To ensure communities are fit for future climates.

        - To provide public and open space in new development

        - To recognise benefits greenspaces provide for people, wildlife & flood storage.

Planning Policy Statement on Economic Development

Plan positively for economic development

        - To promote new business and economic growth unless there is good reason to believe the costs outweighs the benefit.

        - To develop plans that take account of long term benefits, including for the wider regional and national economy. For example job creation.

        - To address disparities and promote opportunities for regenerating deprived areas and to support business diversification in rural areas

- To allow new business and redevelopment without specific permission, where appropriate.

Recognise the needs of business and use evidence to plan

        - To develop plans that can adapt to emerging sectors or changes to existing businesses.

        - To identify and maintain an attractive, flexible supply of land where

         sites are multipurpose and ready for business development.

        - To avoid designating single use sites and adapt existing single use sites.

        - To use robust evidence and market information to underpin decisions.

        - To ensure avoid locating hazardous businesses in sensitive areas.

Strike a balance between growth and the environment

        - To deliver stability, jobs and growth to be sustainable too.

        - To achieve a proper balance between economic growth and environmental and social concerns.

        - To encourage new uses for vacant or derelict buildings and identify previously developed land for re-use where appropriate.

        -To consider changing work patterns such as home working.

        - To consider criteria for permitting appropriate tall buildings.

        -To develop car parking policies to encourage commuters to use public transport

The sunny side of the eco street

Minister Yvette Cooper said ‘It’s all about local power. If we are to reach the ambitious zero carbon standards we need a revolution in the way we heat and power our homes. We want councils to do more to back local green energy. We need the planning system to do more to back jobs, economic growth and regeneration but also to support higher environmental standards as we do so. Economic growth & environmental standards are not alternatives they need to go hand in hand. We need to be environmentally ambitious about all buildings, not just housing. We don’t just need eco homes- we need eco offices, eco shops, eco pubs and clubs. And surprisingly the technologies to do it may be considerably more familiar than many people think. For example sites on ‘the sunny side of the street’ may be better for solar panels.’  Well yes, very true, but lets not quibble, it’s good to see it’s an attempt at joined up thinking- and she has now announced the first zero-carbon eco-village project, to be built on a former hospital site near Bristol- by Barratts.  More in Renew 174

AEP unhappy  

The Association of Electricity Producers were not very happy with the governments commitment to local/micropower ‘Are they actually suggesting that the companies that plan to spend £20bn to £30bn in the next 12 years on new power projects should stop and think again? Will new gas-fired power stations, clean coal schemes and marine renewables somehow be made redundant by community and domestic power production?’ Guardian Dec 7th 2007

72% for green homes 

72% of those surveyed in a poll by Populous for the National Housing Federation (NHF) which represents England’s housing associations, want climate change legislation to be altered to include targets for the private building sector to reduce emissions at the same rate as housing associations, who have already started to meet strict targets on sustainability. The NHF says the poll proves most of the public want tough action taken on CO2, even though it will mean changes in the way homes are built, increasing costs for house-builders.

Rural Zed 

One of the stars of this years Eco-Build exhibition at  Earls Court was RuralZed’s       Zero Carbon House: see

Shadow Carbon pricing

The government is to introduce a ‘shadow price for carbon’, representing the cost to society of the environmental damage, to aid decision making about project investment. Indicative prices have been developed by government economists- set at £25.50 a carbon tonne for 2007, rising annually to £59.60 a tonne by 2050. The idea is that every major Whitehall policy and investment decision will have to incorporate the shadow price of carbon. 

Climate change minister, Phil Woolas, said: ‘This will have huge implications for government. If for instance a new power station is due to cost £1bn, but it will add £200m worth of carbon emissions, we will decide that the cost of the power station is £1.2bn, even though its cash price is £1bn. We are creating a new currency.’

While this will impact on public sector projects like roads and hospitals, as far as we can see, it wont directly effect private sector decisions like airports or nuclear power plants, although it may effect planning decisions about them.  However Patrick Wintour, writing in the Guardian, Dec 22, claimed that in theory ‘it will create a bias against roads and carbon-emitting coal stations and make new “zero carbon” building regulations appear more economic’. and although decisions about investments in new nuclear plants will be made exclusively by the private sector, he suggested that ‘the social carbon price is likely to affect the role of regulators and make them more willing to back nuclear as opposed to other more carbon emitting energy technologies’.

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