Making sure developers play their part

man with gloves holding solar panels on the roof

New guidance that will see B&NES paying greater attention to how developers will make their contribution to renewable energy schemes and more sustainable modes of transport is likely to be adopted.

It’s to support and help deliver key policies in the council’s Core Strategy and the Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) and to reflect recent legislation.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Planning and Licensing, is being asked to approve three supplementary planning documents (SPDs) being put forward as Single Member Decisions.

The draft Planning Obligations SPD Update; Sustainable Construction Checklist SPD Update; and Transport and Development SPD were all consulted on earlier this year and minor amendments have been made.

The Sustainable Construction Checklist SPD Update will help to ensure new development is lower energy and net zero. It clarifies the information applicants need to submit to demonstrate they are complying with the LPPU policy requiring residential development to meet strict energy use requirements and to meet energy demand through on-site renewable energy.

The council is working in partnership with the University of Bath to assess the accuracy of information submitted by applicants and to monitor developments to ensure they are delivering intended energy use/carbon emissions.

The Planning Obligations SPD Update sets out how the council secures contributions from developers to help fund any infrastructure required to mitigate the impact of their development scheme. For example, the update includes securing contributions towards secondary school improvements to address the need for additional school places as a result of housing development proposals.

To help delivery of the LPPU, it also includes new sections outlining how developers can pay a financial contribution to an off-set fund if a housing development is unable to meet energy demand via on-site renewables (e.g. solar cells) or is unable to deliver biodiversity net gain on the site. The council will be able to use these contributions on other projects e.g. installing solar PV on existing social housing.

The Transport & Development SPD sets out the council’s approach and expectations for new developments and re-developments in relation to walking, cycling, ultra-low emission vehicles, parking standards and travel plans. It will support LPPU policies and help to facilitate the shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. 

Councillor Tim Ball said: “I am pleased to consider these three Supplementary Guidance Documents. All three documents support key LPPU policies and will help the council to address the Climate Emergency and achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

“It’s important to note that there are elements of the SPDs that relate to the LPPU policies. These will come into force for decisions on planning applications that are made when the LPPU is adopted.”

The recommendation reports for the Single Member Decisions can be read on the council website. The Single Member Decisions can be made on 5 January at the earliest. Following a call-in period, the SPDs could be adopted on 11 January.

The LPPU will be considered for adoption by the Council on 19 January 2023.

You can find more information on the Local Plan and Local Plan Partial Update on the council’s website.