Government rewords PPS22 to help tackle climate change

Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper today urged all local authorities to include on-site renewable energy measures in their local development plans to help tackle climate change.

The statement follows a Department for Communities and Local Government survey of local plans which reveals many local authorities are now adopting new requirements in their plans for on-site renewable energy in new developments.

Cooper's announcement has been seen as a major step forward for planning policy and micro renewables. The rewording of the controversial PPS22 planning policy means that the Government now "expects" (as opposed to simply requesting) all local authorities to put in place on-site renewable energy policies.

Following the announcement, the Government has said it will now urge all local authorities to do the same. It will include this request in the new planning policy guidance on climate change due out later this year.

Speaking at the TCPA/Renewable Energy Association conference, Cooper said: "We need to seize on new development as an opportunity not a threat. It is time to rethink the way we design our homes and communities, if we are to build communities for the future that are truly sustainable."

She added: "Our long term ambition should be zero carbon development and we believe the Thames Gateway offers a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in environmental improvements for new developments."

The Government also said that its forthcoming draft planning policy statement on climate change will be an opportunity to consider further how the planning process can help combat climate change by extending the contribution of renewables from both on-site and off-site sources.

Commenting on Cooper's announcement and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's call for increased microgeneration, the executive chairman of Home Builders Federation Stewart Baseley welcomed the idea but warned: "Viable local microgeneration and renewables schemes should be facilitated, but a multiplicity of different local policies would complicate industry's ability to innovate. The test must be what is appropriate on a site by site basis."