Last year Transition Bath and number of local groups appeared at the Planning Inspectorate public planning examination of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s in support of the proposed Local Plan Partial Update. In January 2023 these ambitious new standards for building new homes in B&NES were passed by the Planning Inspector and are now requirements of new building development in B&NES.
These new local standards and among the highest for new build housing in the country and are leading the country in requiring developers to build homes with low carbon emissions and running costs including the following local policies:
- SCR6: annual domestic heating demand < 30 kWh/year/m2 and annual energy demand < 40 kWh/m2/year – about 4 times lower than the average UK home
- SCR7: a 100% reduction in carbon emissions for new large non-residential development versus 2013 Part L national standards
- SCR8: Embodied carbon: embodied energy in construction of buildings of < 900 kg/m2, about half the national average and important because CO2 emissions from construction of a new building can be equivalent to up to 100 years of operational use CO2 emissions
- Homes of Multiple Occupation: EPC band C or better
Community group support referenced in report to national Climate Change Committee
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has just release a report SPATIAL PLANNING FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE & NET ZERO Barriers & opportunities for delivering net zero and climate resilience through the local planning system. A report for the Climate Change Committee which criticises national government as hampering local climate action and providing a lack of clarity in policy which is undermining the ability of local planners to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The report examines the efforts through case studies of 4 Local Authorities in trying to develop Local Plans to address climate change and B&NES is held up as an exemplar.
The report references the beneficial support B&NES had from local community groups during the examination:
Similarly, the B&NES experience demonstrates the importance of community support, where the presence of local groups in support the policy approach at examination supported the Council. Place-based action on net zero will not only lead to more local support but can deliver greater economic and social benefits at lower cost.
Transition Bath coordinated the attendance and preparation of a number of local community groups including Go Green Widcombe and Transition Larkhall at the Planning Examination which is like a mini public enquiry. Clearly our work in supporting the council is appreciated and has paid off in the approval of B&NES’s higher building standards.
Ongoing work to support B&NES Council’s Planning Process
Our work on this has not finished. Since the Plan was approved by the Planning Inspectorate and the council, we have continued to comment on planning applications within B&NES to ensure they comply with the new standards, supporting those which do and objecting to those which don’t. To date this year we have commented on over 70 planning applications and examined hundreds of others. We maintain a list of these comments on our website’s Planning and Consultations web page. We believe that supporting the council through the planning process will have a significant impact on B&NES’s future carbon emissions.