Housing and Planning Delivery Grant means 375 councils will receive about £350k each

The government has unveiled £135m in funding for councils to plan and build homes and provide support for renewable energy schemes such as biomass and geothermal power plants.

The funding from the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (HPDG) will provide a direct incentive for councils to work with partners in the public and private sector to construct green homes.

The cash tops up mainstream funding and councils can choose how to spend it without it being ringfenced.

The news means 375 local authorities are set to receive around £350,000 each.

To receive the funds, councils must show that they have “made progress on” sourcing enough land supply for forthcoming development, getting local plans in place, carrying out a strategic assessment of their housing market and processing planning applications quickly.

Meanwhile, six pilot Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy and low carbon schemes have also been confirmed.

PPAs give developers and local planning authorities support to assess proposals for major green projects in advance of an application so that issues which might slow them down can be addressed.

Among the pilots are:

  • a biomass power plant in Teesside, large enough to produce electricity for over 50,000 homes;
  • a wind project near Doncaster which will return around £300k of profit a year to the community for investment in other energy projects; and
  • a proposal to generate enough electricity to power the Eden Project in Cornwall using geothermal energy; a scheme which will be a landmark development in the UK.