The Government has made a commitment that will require the UK to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. At a local level, Winchester City Council has declared its own climate emergency in June 2019 and is committed to becoming a carbon neutral council by 2024. The ambition for the wider district is that it should become carbon neutral by 2030.
The city council has declared a climate emergency in order to address the fact that our daily activities and lifestyles are not sustainable as the way that we are currently living is releasing greenhouse gases (predominantly carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere. This is resulting in changes to our seasons, increasing frequency of heat waves, droughts, and more extreme weather conditions all of which cause changes to our landscapes and ecosystems. The use of our finite resources combined with the widespread and potentially devastating impacts of climate change places a responsibility on all of us to reassess how we plan, design, construct and occupy our homes and the places that we work. The Local Plan also has a key role in moving residents, businesses and visitors to our district away from using fossil fuels and instead promoting more sustainable modes of transport.
Why is it Important for our Local Plan to deal with this?
The Council recognises that its planning policies – covering what can be built, where, and how – all have a major impact on the way that places grow and change, helping to protect and shape the future of the district.
The aim is to make sure that future development is sustainable and helps to address climate change in every aspect of its design and construction as well as to put in place measures to promote sustainable forms of transport over the use of cars.
The fundamental challenge is how we can meet our climate change targets whilst delivering the new homes and employment to meet our local growth needs and complying with government guidance. The target of achieving carbon neutrality has been fully woven into the local plan. This is because the decisions that we make about the location, form and function of the development we permit all have an impact on our district.
In order to meet our net zero target by 2030, the policies that are included in the Local Plan also have an important promotional role in terms of encouraging renewable energy proposals to come forward for development and as well as supporting and encouraging green business opportunities in line with the council’s Green Economic Development Strategy. All of this will assist the district moving towards a green economic economy.
What evidence have we commissioned?
The Council has published its Carbon Neutrality Action Plan 2020-2030 which sets out how it will deliver against the ambition to be a carbon neutral Council by 2024 and district by 2030. The focus of the Action Plan is on carbon emission reduction and elimination, with mitigation /off setting used as a means to balance carbon emissions to achieve net zero gain. Transport accounts for nearly half of the district’s carbon emissions and tackling this is the first priority. The second largest contributor to carbon emissions in the district is domestic energy so the aim is to reduce this by enabling residents to live in more energy efficient homes. If we are to meet our ambitious target for a carbon neutral district, we need to ensure that our Local Plan addresses these two key issues and we put the right policies in place in order to ensure that this happens working within the framework of national planning policy.
As Local Plans can set energy standards that are higher than Building Regulations, the City Council commissioned a consultant team led by Elementa to clarify and assess the cost implications associated with meeting net-zero carbon for new residential dwellings. The ‘Net Zero Carbon Targets’ Report by Elementa, Etude and Currie & Brown assessed the financial costs that are associated with building a residential dwelling to Part L of the current Building Regulations, the Future Homes standard 2025 and the cost of introducing energy efficiency standards that have been established by London Energy Transformational Initiative (LETI). This work has fed directly into the wording of Policy CN3 in the draft Local Plan.
Carbon Neutrality and Designing for Low Carbon Infrastructure Topic
Please find a link to the Carbon Neutrality and Design for Low Carbon Infrastructure topic here. (pdf, 1.2mb).
The full Regulation 18 draft Local Plan can be viewed in the box below.
Regulation 18 Consultation Plan (Full document)
Please find the link to the Regulation 18 draft Local Plan (pdf, 24.7mb)