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Agenda item

Sustainable Development, Local Plan and Climate Change

This report introduces a discussion on planning guidance and best practice concerning sustainable development. The committee wish to explore the feasibility of potential actions that the Council could take in furthering the aim of York being carbon neutral by 2030. This paper looks to set out the current York position in respect of its emerging Local Plan, development of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) and the national policy context.

Additional further reading and resources published online:

-      Planning for Climate Change, Executive Summary and Full Report - Town and Country Planning Association

-      Friends of the Earth, 33 Actions that Local Authorities can take on Climate Change

-      Planning and Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document – Crawley Council




The Committee were joined by Liam Tate (Planning Manager at Barratt Homes / David Wilson Homes), Paul Wharam  (Technical Director at Barratt Homes / David Wilson Homes), Steve Cinderby

(Stockholm Environment Institute), and Council Officers.


Officers outlined the position of the Local Plan, the supplementary planning documents, and the reasons for the plan being considered in two separate phases by the inspector. In response to Member questions, the officers noted that there were limitations to being able to amend the plan beyond what the inspector could recommend. They also noted that the Local Plan was setting higher building standards than current government building regulations. Officers confirmed the limitations to being able to set potentially more ambitious targets for carbon reduction or energy efficiency as the plan and noted that there was a chance that the inspector could lower targets on the grounds of feasibility due to them being higher than national planning policy frame work. 


Liam Tate and Paul Wharam responded to a series of Members questions, outlining that from a developer’s perspective that they were looking for a level playing field between themselves and other developers. They therefore were looking for guidance in the form of planning guidelines that would indicate the standard that they would need to build too. They highlighted that they as a company had taken a fabric first approach and considered PV or heat recovery systems only when building over and above current building regulations. In response to questions about car free developments and the potential for York Central to be car free, they noted that public perception would need to be in favour of car free developments and that current planning standards ask for developments to come with space for two cars. 


Members considered the government’s consultation on The Future Homes Standard: changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new dwellings, it was noted that in 2006 there had been a government target for homes to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016, however, the plan was stopped by a previous administration. Instead of the options in the consultation of reductions in carbon emissions of homes, Members stated that they would prefer a target of ‘zero carbon’ for all new homes.


The Committee also discussed a range of topics including localised heating systems, renewable energy on listed buildings, and the financial implications of building to higher standards. Furthermore they considered examples of schemes undertaken by other local authorities and highlighted the Friends of the Earth document as part of the agenda pack ‘33 actions local authorities can take on climate change’ as further ways of considering what City of York Council could consider implementing. Members agreed to discuss outside of the meeting potential funding steams the council could seek to use that would allow for buildings to be built to a higher standard, while not adversely affecting things such as the building of affordable housing.




                      i.         That a report be brought to the February meeting of the Committee providing an initial perspective on whether the City of York Council could adopt any of the 33 actions local authorities could take on climate change, as outlined in the Friends of the Earth document.         

                     ii.         That Members of the Committee would meet outside of the meeting to discuss potential funding streams in building sustainable homes and report back to the Committee.

                    iii.        That the Supplementary Planning documents be shared with the Committee at an appropriate time, so that Scrutiny Members can feed into the process.

                   iv.        That the Executive Member of Economy and Strategic Planning be asked to consider submitting a supplementary response to the Government’s Future Homes Standard consultation, requesting the adoption of a zero carbon emissions standard in all new build homes.

                     v.        That the Executive be asked to consider coordinating with other local authorities to lobby the government to instate a zero carbon emissions standard in all new build homes.


Reason:     To ensure that the City of York Council can meet its target of becoming a carbon natural city of 2030.

Supporting documents:


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