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Climate positive planning

Somerset West and Taunton Council has declared a Climate Emergency and is committed to working towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Planning can play a key role in tackling the Climate Emergency in relation to both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. This has been identified in the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy and SWT’s own Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan

The Council has a number of existing planning policies across its adopted local plans which relate to the Climate Emergency and the roles that planning can play in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Going forwards, the Local Plan Review will explore potential for new, updated and amended policies. In the meantime, the Council has approved Climate Positive Planning: Interim Guidance Statement on Planning for the Climate Emergency.

Climate Positive Planning:

  • Provides additional guidance and explanation to support existing planning policies of adopted local plans across both the former Taunton Deane and West Somerset areas (excluding Exmoor National Park);
  • Has a particular focus on Policy DM5 of the Taunton Deane Core Strategy;
    Clarifies when the Council is able to apply relevant existing adopted planning policies to the best of their effect;
  • Underlines that the Climate Emergency is generally a material consideration in determining planning applications; and
  • Sets out that a Climate Emergency Checklist should be submitted alongside all planning applications at validation stage*.

*this will become a requirement for validation of planning applications once the updated Local Validation Checklist is approved and implemented.

Climate Positive Planning is a useful resource of guidance for applicants, providing guidance on how and where they can demonstrate that their proposal responds to the Climate Emergency and existing adopted policies in this regard.

The document has been approved as a “live” document that will periodically be updated to reflect changes in national legislation and policy, and keep explanation and guidance relevant.

A draft of Climate Positive Planning was subject to public consultation between 23 November 2020 and 4 January 2021. The Consultation Report details this consultation, the responses received and responses to issues raised.