Planning and its contribution to address climate change
- Meeting of Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 9th September, 2021 10.00 am (Item 17.)
Report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing
This report describes how the planning policy and process is used to influence and address climate change, including an update on the Local Plan, describing the policy in relation to developer requirements to provide electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage facilities, and the approach to Environmental Impact Assessments.
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing that described how the planning policy and process was used to influence and address climate change, including an update on the Local Plan, describing the policy in relation to developer requirements to provide electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage facilities, and the approach to Environmental Impact Assessments.
Key points and themes in the report included:
· Providing a background and overview of the planning policy framework, including the Core Strategy.
· An update on the Local Plan and the opportunities of the Local Plan refresh;
· The policy in relation to developer requirements to provide electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage facilities;
· The approach to Environmental Impact Assessments; and
· Conclusion and next steps.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Planning policy and decisions were a significant lever at the disposal of the Council and should be used to maximise environmental improvements and address carbon emissions;
· Nothing in the city should be built that adversely affects the environment;
· All developments should support active travel by providing bike storage space and support the Council’s ambition to reduce reliance on cars;
· Construction Management Plans should also be used to maximise environmental benefits, including the impact on noise pollution;
· Could Energy Reduction Targets be imposed following the completion of a development;
· There was no reference within the report to protecting existing bio diversity;
· Permitted development on domestic buildings needed to monitored to ensure they were not adding to emissions; and
· Consideration needed to be given to addressing urban heat islands that occurred when cities replaced natural land cover with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorbed and retained heat.
The Head of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure informed the Committee that the Local Plan was one of a suite of strategies and he made reference to the Green and Blue Strategy and the policies at both a Manchester level and GM level to address issues relating to transport and active travel.
The Planning Section Manager advised that the Environmental Impact Assessment considers a range of issues including the energy efficiency of the development, bio diversity, tree planting, drainage and highways. He commented that all applications were assessed and considered using existing national guidance and local policy and developers were always challenged to increase their contribution to reducing the developments’ environmental impact, particularly in relation as to how they sourced their materials.
In response to the comments made regarding the monitoring of Construction Management Plans, the Planning Section Manager advised that if issues did occur there were a range of teams within the Council who would respond to these, and where necessary take enforcement action. He said that if a Construction Management Plan was not available at the application stage due to a contractor not being identified this would be stipulated as a condition of any consent granted.
The Planning Section Manager noted the comment made regarding permitted developments and stated that planning permission was not required for these, which in effect reduced the control the planning department had on such projects.
In response to the comment made regarding Heat Islands, the Planning and Infrastructure Manager advised that a piece of bespoke work had been commissioned to consider the open space across the city which would support work on the Local Plan refresh.
The Chair stated that every opportunity should be taken to increase green spaces and planting in the city so as to support and encourage bio diversity. She further suggested that a point of contact should be created so that developers could obtain advice on the type of tree and the best locations they should be planting them so as to maximise their impact.
To note the report.