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Agenda item

Scrutiny Review - Presentations Net Zero Carbon Emission - Themes - Planning for Zero Carbon


SakibaGurda, Head of Planning  Policy and Karen Sullivan, Service Director Planning and Development were present and made a presentation to the Committee, (copy interleaved) during which the following main points were made –


·         Planning plays an important role in ensuring that developments minimise their contributions towards climate change as well as adapt to and be more resilient to its impacts. Islington has implemented ambitious and robust planning policies over recent years to minimise the contribution of development to climate change

·         Current local plan – Developments required to minimise their carbon emissions on site, including through energy efficiency. One of the first Councils to require carbon offset payments, as part of net zero carbon approach which is then used to fund projects that reduce carbon emissions. Planning policies to promote and develop decentralised energy networks. One of the first to implement a car free policy for all new developments

·         New Local Plan – approach to net zero emissions  - commits the Council to ensuring all buildings in Islington will be net Zero Carbon by 2050, consistent with the London Plan. The Council has declared a climate and environment emergency and will strive to achieve net carbon zero by 2030, ahead of the 2050 target. Planning policy plays a critically important role as part of moving towards net zero carbon emissions from buildings in the borough. Planning is however only part of meeting the net zero carbon target. The Council’s planning policies can only reduce carbon emissions through the design and construction of new and refurbished buildings that require planning permission. The ambitious planning policies in the Local Plan must be accompanied by a range of other interventions, as set out in the Council’s net zero carbon strategy

·         Trajectory to net zero – achieving net zero carbon from all buildings in Islington will require significant retrofitting of existing building stock to ensure that it meets the highest possible energy efficiency standards. Decarbonisation of the electricity grid and a move away from gas boilers is also required. This is outside the current scope of the planning system and would require significant changes to national policy and legislation

·         All developments of 1 unit or more must be zero carbon, ensure development proposals reduce energy demand through energy efficiency, reducing emissions through low carbon energy sources and renewables, approach requires compliance with Fabric Energy Efficiency statement. Major development proposals should calculate and demonstrate actions to reduce whole life-cycle carbon emissions

·         New Local Plan Energy infrastructure – selection of heat sources in line with the policy will ensure developments prioritise low and zero carbo heating options, major developments required to have communal low temperature heating system, heat sources for communal systems selected in accordance with heating hierarchy, and connection to heat networks prioritised. The new local plan and the zero carbon and energy policies are supported by other policies which are important in building climate resilience. These include policies on thermal comfort, integrated approach to water management, requirement for site specific flood risk assessments, continue commitment to reducing car use and promoting walking and cycling

·         There is a commitment to delivering a net zero carbon supplementary planning document in the Local Plan and Zero Carbon strategy. This will assist with the implementation of policy and provided practical guidance

·         Planning reform – currently undergoing an unprecedented period of planning reform, significant increase in permitted development rights mean planning permission is not required and planning policies cannot be applied. Further significant permitted development rights proposed and this will erode the ability to achieve net zero and further increase costs of retrofit. Due to the deregulation of planning controls the Government will place greater reliance on building control to secure energy efficiency measures

·         Reference was made to the need to inform residents of proposals and it was stated that a presentation to residents could take place in the future

·         Noted that Government were being lobbied in relation to the proposals in relation to permitted development rights proposals, and the proposals around commercial to residential and how the Council could influence this

·         A Member stated that he welcomed the new SDP and that consideration should be given to looking at the current policy in conservation areas and historic buildings, and how this could be tailored to better meet net Zero carbon aims. It was noted that this is an area currently under consideration

·         Reference was made to carbon offsetting and it was stated that developers did generally try to comply however in certain developments it was not always possible, and therefore a financial contribution is made


The Chair thanked Sakiba Gurda and Karen Sullivan for attending

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