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Council gets go-ahead for net zero planning policy

We are delighted to share the news that Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) is the first local authority to receive the go-ahead to adopt planning policy to ensure that future new homes are built to net zero standards, based on total energy use and space heating demand requirements. 

Following examination, the Planning Inspector has found B&NES’ Local Plan Partial Update sound, which means the council has now set, and will enforce, net zero energy standards at the local level that go beyond national Building Regulations.  

The Hub has played a part in this success story, working with B&NES planning officers to support the development of the SPD which sets out ambitious energy-in-use, onsite renewable and offsetting policy and guidance. 

The Hub has also been working with Cornwall Council on their net zero planning policies. The two councils were able to collaborate and share evidence, much of it commissioned and produced by the Hub, for the public examination of B&NES evidence. Cornwall is expected to make an announcement on their net zero planning policy soon. 

Other councils are already using this same evidence to help establish their own local planning policies in addressing the climate emergencies declared at local level. This evidence is available from our knowledge centre

Alex McCann, Climate Policy (Planning) Officer for B&NES said, 

“Support from the South West Net Zero Hub has been invaluable in strengthening the approach for the energy-based net zero new housing policy, which has recently been adopted. The Hub’s support to produce studies on the cost of offsetting and an overview on the whole policy approach, based on energy use limits and sufficient on-site renewable energy generation to match total energy use, solidified our position and played an important role defending the policy. Collaboration with the Hub, Etude consultancy and Cornwall Council produced robust mechanisms for reporting. This has the potential to be developed and deployed by other local authorities to ensure consistency and enable data comparison at scale.” 

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager at the South West Net Zero Hub said, 

“We were delighted to support B&NES to strengthen their approach to net zero new housing. It’s widely recognised that we need to ensure that homes built now are both affordable to live in and will meet future Net Zero goals.Councils interested in in this approach to planning should contact the Hub to discuss how we can help.”