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Planning: Policy Statements

Volume 697: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing publication of the new Planning Policy Statement (PPS): Planning and Climate Change and a consultation draft of the new PPS: Planning for Sustainable Economic Development. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.

Our economy must be prepared to meet the challenges of increasing global competition, and to seize the opportunities presented by rapid technological change. In the planning White Paper, Planning for a Sustainable Future, we set out a vision of a planning system better able to support a dynamic economy. But this planning system must also respond to the urgent challenges presented by climate change.

Economic growth and higher environmental standards must go hand in hand. We want the planning system to do more to promote jobs and economic growth, but to do so in a way that is environmentally sustainable and helps cut carbon emissions. Equally we want to ensure that the programme to cut carbon emissions should also help support the jobs and homes we need for the future. Our reforms are designed to ensure that the planning system is flexible enough to support both, making a critical contribution to sustainable economic growth for the 21st century.

PPS Climate Change is being issued as a supplement to PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development. This PPS is central to the entire series of planning policy statements. New requirements for local authorities will ensure that tackling climate change becomes a primary objective of the planning system, reflecting the emphasis in the White Paper. This will help to speed up the shift to renewable and low-carbon energy, supporting our ambitions on zero carbon development and helping shape places resilient to the impact of climate change.

First, this PPS confirms the central role of planning in helping to achieve zero carbon homes from 2016. We also believe we need to develop a similar approach for non-domestic buildings, and today we are publishing analysis from the UK Green Building Council, commissioned by the department to support significant cuts in carbon emissions from new non-domestic buildings.

Secondly, this PPS will help speed up the shift to renewable and low-carbon energy by challenging councils to do more to support delivery of local renewable or local low-carbon energy—including through setting percentages of energy for new development to be generated from local renewables or low carbon sources such as microgeneration or community schemes. It also expects councils to think about the potential for local low-carbon energy generation and cutting carbon emissions when identifying the best sites for development.

Thirdly, local government has a critical role in ensuring that local communities and infrastructure are able to cope with the impact of climate change—not only the effects which are felt today, but also those that can be anticipated in the future. The PPS therefore reflects the central role of planning in shaping places that are resilient to climate change and habitats that sustain biodiversity.

We consulted on a draft of the climate change PPS at the beginning of the year and have considered very carefully the responses we received. The approach has received broad support. The final document being published today takes account of the detailed issues raised.

Moving towards a low-carbon economy is a huge challenge. It requires a revolution in the way that we design, heat and power our buildings, and a concerted effort from a huge number of organisations—from local authorities, to developers, to environmental groups and local communities themselves. It also requires collaborative and responsible working to ensure that change takes place alongside delivering the additional homes as well as the new jobs and regeneration we need. The policy set out in the PPS provides a strong framework for that degree of co-operation.

We are also publishing a draft PPS on sustainable economic development. The Barker review of land use planning showed that planning authorities do not always give sufficient weight to the potential economic benefits of new developments. This draft PPS seeks to ensure that local planning authorities take these benefits into account alongside relevant environmental and social issues.

It would require local authorities to identify and maintain a supply of land which caters for existing employment and business needs while also delivering the infrastructure and housing we need. It would require local authorities to respond positively to new proposals to promote economic development. However, given increasing demands on the limited land available, it would also require planning authorities to make the most efficient use of land and buildings. It also emphasises the importance that we attach to excellence in design.

Together, the policies outlined in these PPSs will deliver economic growth sustainably, promoting job creation while also helping to tackle climate change.