The report highlights the glaring lack of attention given to ‘smart energy’ in national planning policy and guidance and the gap between what happens on the ground and the opportunities offered by smart energy.
“Nothing should be planned without demonstrating it is fit to take its place in a net-zero emissions future… It makes no sense for what is planned and built today to be delivered in a way, or in places, that will require costly retrofitting tomorrow”, says the report.
The report finds notable strides have been taken to cut emissions using the existing planning toolkit. However, based on current progress, the pace of change is out of step with the ambitions set out in the Clean Growth Strategy and what is needed to meet the UKs legal commitments to decarbonise.
The perceived lack of attention given to cutting carbon emissions by MHCLG has pushed energy down the list of priorities for many local planning authorities, it finds.
The report is calling for a refresh of the National Planning Policy Framework or, with greater immediacy, through a written ministerial statement, to give greater national political clarity that smart energy and climate change have equal status with planning for housing, transport and economic growth.
It also urges MHCLG and BEIS to work better together and devise a joint action plan that allows energy policy to be informed by planning and land use considerations, and carbon reduction to be achieved effectively through local planning policy and implementation.
In the absence of nationally robust trajectory for achieving zero carbon standards for domestic and non-domestic buildings, the report recommends that the Government allows local authorities to set much higher local standards.
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