Local Authority Planning Advice – Sustainability & Energy
About the client
The client is a local authority based in the midlands, who were seeking advice relating to a complex hybrid planning application for a new housing development and a business park. The client where looking for specialist advice on the scheme relating to sustainability, energy use and storage in order that a decision could be made on the application. There was considerable time pressure to complete the project as the applicants were looking to commence construction in a matter of months.
Drivers for the project
The scheme included innovative features in relation to energy use and storage, which were new to the client. This included a battery storage area for the housing development, which would store energy from PV panels as apposed to exporting energy to the grid and a 100% renewable energy private wire supply to the business park. Given the nature of the scheme and the authority felt unqualified to comment on these aspects and sought specialist technical advice.
CIS were provided with a brief from the client asking for us to review the applications and the merits and drawbacks in regard of sustainability and energy. It was important to the client that we were not duplicating the applicants work but scrutinising their submission and providing guidance to enable the authority to make an informed planning decision. The work completed included a review of the application against sustainability and energy policy and a review of the feasibility of the applicants energy production, storage, transmission, and usage proposals. Where appropriate wording of conditions was included.
CIS initially provided a review of the application against relevant local and national energy and sustainability policy, the outcomes of which included a set of actions for the applicant including BREEAM targets, the completion of SAPs to verify carbon reduction figures and commitments relating to water usage and electric vehicle charge points.
On completion of the policy review we assessed the application more broadly to determine its strategic importance in the authority, its potential as a flagship project and statements relating to innovative solutions for energy storage and usage.
In our view there were indeed a number of innovative and commercially relevant factors supporting the application. The significant renewable energy generation and innovation regarding supply meant that the site if approved would offer zero carbon renewable energy for the proposed business park. Further developments around hydrogen power generation and testing of advanced battery storage capabilities meant that occupants would also have the potential to access zero carbon fuel for transport in the future and be insulated against inconsistency of supply and fluctuating energy prices. The selection of the site next to the renewable energy park would also negate all distribution loses.
This would be a first for the authority and there is indeed potential for the solutions to be implemented elsewhere in the future and for further sites to benefit.
CONSULTANCY DELIVERED: SUSTAINABILITY & ENERGY ADVICE FOR A LOCAL AUTHORITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT
COMPLETION DATE: JULY 2020