Priority 2: Encourage low carbon development and design measures to improve resilience and adaptation to climate change
We need to ensure the homes we are planning now are fit for the future. This means that not only must they not add excessive amounts of carbon emissions to the atmosphere during construction, but they must be designed in ways that can protect people from excessive heat, flooding etc.
Households across Malvern currently generate on average 4.9 tonnes of carbon emissions per person, every year, including transport. According to the latest five year housing land supply report, 217 homes per year need to be built across the district up until 2030, with a further 1,940 proposed to 2041 as part of the SWDP Review.
Based on an average household size of 2.35, and without any changes to the way homes are built, heated, supplied with electricity or lifestyle behaviour change from the public, this would add close to 48,000 tonnes of carbon emissions to the district’s annual total. This would require further measures to reduce or offset these emissions.
The South Worcestershire Development Plan Review provides an opportunity to create an environment to encourage low carbon and sustainable development but there are challenges. The National Planning Policy Framework does not currently support councils to be ambitious in setting local plans that actively support the reduction of emissions.
While other local authorities have been successful in incorporating robust carbon reduction policies into their local plans, there remains something of a postcode lottery in terms of those policies successfully passing through the examination phase.
It should be noted the Government’s preferred position is to use Building Regulations to achieve low carbon development. Its current consultation proposes measures including changing Part L to ensure no new home is connected to the gas grid from 2025 and a new design code.
If introduced, as expected, this will support our aims locally but will also likely stop us putting in policies including requiring a carbon offset fund and that developers build to a higher standard than that set out in Building Regulations.
The SWDP already contains policies to support the response to the climate emergency including requiring 40% green infrastructure (trees etc) on developments over a hectare and 20% under a hectare, that homes must be built to BREEAM environmental sustainability standards and that developers must use the most efficient gas boilers available.