Energy efficiency and renewable energy in development

Climate change: Climate change poses a serious threat to the way we live and work. Past and present global greenhouse gas emissions mean that climatic changes are inevitable.

Development of renewable and low carbon energy is one of the mainstays of the Climate Change Act. Tackling climate change remains a key priority of National Planning Policy.

Delivering development in a sustainable way will help ensure that both existing communities and new developments contribute to addressing the causes of climate change (for example by contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions) and ensuring the borough adapts to the impacts of climate change. This will include through the design and location of development, construction methods and the generation of renewable energy.

National Planning Policy

The National Planning Policy Framework (government website - PDF) sets out a Key Planning Objective "To deliver sustainable development." It states:

“93. Planning plays a key role in helping shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change, and supporting the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. This is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development."

Reigate & Banstead’s Core Strategy

Following adoption of the Council’s Core Strategy on 3rd July 2014 revised planning policies are now in force regarding Sustainable Construction.

The majority of the policies in the Core Strategy set the strategic framework, and broad principles, for development in the Borough, however some also introduce new local standards to which new development will be expected to adhere:

Sustainable Construction:

Core Strategy policy CS11 introduces local sustainable construction standards:

a. All new housing to be provided to minimum of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4.

b. Relevant non-residential development to a minimum of BREEAM ‘very good’

When determining planning applications, the Council will want to ensure that every effort has been taken to ‘design in’ sustainable development. Site allocations and proposals for development will be assessed against the criteria set out in this policy. Planning applications will need to show how the proposed development has been formulated taking into consideration the criteria and demonstrating how they have been met. Relevant planning applications received after adoption of the Core Strategy and receiving permission will have standard conditions applied to secure delivery of these local standards.

Policy CS11 will be operated with sensitivity to the viability and feasibility of development. If it is clearly demonstrated that a development would be unviable due to the application of this policy, the Council will negotiate a viable solution.

The Council therefore continues to require energy statements for all such development to demonstrate these requirements have been considered and met in the design of the development.

Current local position

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Sustainable Energy Strategy commits it to setting the highest standards for new development to minimise carbon emissions.

The above policy framework supports the Council's continuing approach of expecting all new development to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 10% through use of renewable sources and providing high levels of energy efficiency.

Related websites

National Energy Foundation website
Renewable Energy Association website
British Wind Energy Association website
Ground Source Heat Pump Association website
Biomass website