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Have your say on climate positive planning

23 November 2020 : Council news, Environment

SWT is seeking the views of residents and developers on an Interim Planning Policy Statement, intended to clarify existing planning policy for the district in response to the Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan and the Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration.
SWT recognises how planning decisions can play a key role in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change and has already begun work on a new Local Plan to incorporate environmentally-friendly policies up until 2040. 
However, it will be some time before the plan attracts significant weight in the decision making process.
In the meantime, a new policy statement, entitled ‘Climate Positive Planning: Interim Policy Statement on Planning for the Climate Emergency’, has been drafted as a temporary measure to ensure existing planning policies are applied effectively to address the climate emergency. 
It does not seek to set new, or alter existing, policy but instead is proposed as an explanatory document, clarifying that the Climate Emergency is a material consideration in determining planning applications, and guidance for Officers and Planning Committee Members when assessing applications.
The draft policy statement will be subject to a public consultation, held between 23 November 2020 and 4 January 2021 for residents and members of the development industry to express their views. More information relating to the Statement can be found on the Council’s Climate Positive Planning webpage.
Publication of an interim policy statement was identified as an ‘immediate’ action to build upon the CNCR Action Plan and the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy, both of which were adopted at a special Full Council meeting in October. Visit the Council’s Climate Change Strategy page for more information about these documents.
Executive Member for Planning and Transport, Cllr Mike Rigby, said: “Tackling the Climate Emergency is our number one priority. Climate action is integral to good planning for sustainable development. This statement helps to clarify how we expect new developments to respond to existing planning policies in relation to the Climate Emergency.
“We’ll be exploring how we can update and improve our policies in relation to the Climate Emergency through the new Local Plan to 2040. The Issues & Options Document, which we consulted on earlier this year, has a clear focus on the climate.
“In the meantime, this should help applicants to understand how they can and should be responding to the Climate Emergency, and ensuring we are using our existing policies to best effect”.
Executive Member for Climate Change, Cllr Peter Pilkington, said: “It’s great to see how our new CNCR Action Plan is influencing the way we work with a climate focus across the Council.
“Improving the environmental credentials of new development is an important part of meeting our commitment in working towards carbon neutrality by 2030”.
To have your say on the new Interim Policy Statement, visit the Council’s consultation portal.