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Housing: Renewable Energy

Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the new planning policy statement on climate change will (a) allow local authorities to continue to implement the Merton Rule and (b) require that a minimum proportion of all new developments’ energy needs should come from on-site renewables. (182089)

The new planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change will boost the use of local renewable and low carbon energy in new development. The PPS sets out our ‘Merton-Plus’ approach. It expects all local planning authorities to have a council-wide target (like existing Merton rules) and, additionally, tailored targets for sites where there is greater potential for using decentralised energy to supply new development. These targets should be flexible enough to consider community schemes (for example, wind turbines or CHP schemes serving more than one site) as well as building specific technologies.

Councils could still set an on-site target in their Development Plan Document (DPD) provided they can show this is the only local energy option and there are no other options than on-site. In practice, we think there are unlikely to be many situations like this. We wouldn’t rule out on-site renewables targets in DPDs provided it is clear that the DPD policy/target will be applied flexibly and will allow carbon savings from local energy supplies to be considered and count towards it.