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Climate Change Development Plan Document

Public Consultation on the Climate Emergency Development Plan Document (DPD) has now closed

Thank you to everyone who responded to this pre-submission stage of the DPD. The team are working through the responses and they will be used to help inform and refine the policies.

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You can view or download the Pre-Submission Climate Emergency DPD and Interim Sustainability Appraisal Report.. These will be updated before the next stage of consultation.

Cornwall has declared a climate emergency and we need change to address it. Our aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, is a massive ask. It will take a combined effort from the Council and everyone in Cornwall. Businesses, residents and visitors will all need to act to achieve this huge step. We will be calling on Westminster to give us powers and funding to help deliver our ambitions. All services across the Council will have a part to play and planning is an important part of the solution. But we must continue to be able to house our residents and provide infrastructure. Giving our children and grandchildren a Cornwall to continue to live and work in.

Planning Policies have a major impact on the way that places grow and change. They will also help to protect and shape the Cornwall of the future. Cornwall has a Local Plan with some policies aimed at addressing climate change. They alone are not enough. We are creating the Climate Emergency DPD to strengthen those policies. We are introducing some new policies to address climate change issues affecting Cornwall. These policies will sit alongside proposed Government legislation to protect our environment. They will make sure that development is sustainable. We will continue to gather evidence from experts and stakeholders throughout the DPD process. This evidence will help us understand whether we have identified the right policies. Now is your chance to comment on the draft policies and options and tell us whether we have missed anything. This pre-submission stage is the second in the statutory planning process for the DPD. The Climate Change emergency affects everyone, and we need to work together to address it. It's very important that you tell us what you think. So that we can reach a more sustainable and resilient Cornwall.

What can planning do to help?

These planning policies can help protect the environment and people. You will need to follow the policies if you are building or making changes to our landscape. The Government makes national planning laws and other rules (such as how buildings should be constructed). that we must follow. This means we are not always allowed to make our own rules stricter for Cornwall. If we want to do something different, we need to ask for the rules to change. This lobbying is something anyone can do. Planning follows an often complicated legal process. It uses language that sometimes means very little to non-planners or lawyers! But this is to make sure that rules are legal and enforceable. The Climate Change Development Plan Document creates new planning rules (planning policies). They will encourage better development, that uses less energy. Developing buildings that survive future climate change and that help protect the planet. We want to know what you think about the new policies we are proposing.

There will be another official consultation period for you to tell us what you think over the coming months. 

You can view or download the Climate Emergency DPD.


You can respond or ask questions using the contact details below:


Or call: 0300 1234 151

Or write to: Climate Emergency DPD, Cornwall Council – Planning, PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TRURO, TR1 9EQ

We would like to thank everyone who responded to the scoping consultation. We received valuable evidence, comments and suggestions. Responses came from experts, interest groups, business and individuals. The scoping feedback helped to shape the policies in the DPD.

The responses received show the depth of feeling about the Climate Emergency. It has reinforced the urgency and need to act felt by people from all walks of life.

You can view the responses here: Statement of consultation and a summary of the responses from:

We will consult again on the final policies for the DPD early next year. It will then under go Inspection in Public.

This is the stage where we set out the draft policies. We are asking for your views on how the policies will work and if we have it right.

We will consider all the evidence and comments on the suggested Planning Policies. We will create the final versions and will consult on these updated policies early next year.

Town Centre

Town centres are in decline as shopping areas change and retail stores close. Sadly, this isn't unique to Cornwall. There is a lot of evidence around issues facing our towns. Government changes to planning rules have tried to address the decline. Increasing the number of homes in town centres could help address the impacts of climate change. Planning policies can help encourage changing the use of buildings. Changing the focus of our town centres can help to revitalise. Investment in public transport and cycling infrastructures can change behaviour. It can help reduce car use and connect people to jobs. Mixed-use buildings, with good public transport and Green spaces help keep towns vibrant. View  the Town Centre Design and Density topic paper.

Renewable Energy / Mine water energy and deep geothermal

We all use electricity and the amount we need could double over the next 50 years as we move away from using fossil fuels. Only a third of energy we use currently is renewable. The rest comes from sources or those that can affect the atmosphere and cause pollution. In the future we will need around five times the current amount of renewable energy. We must make changes, reduce demand and become carbon neutral. Examples of renewable energy include: Wind turbines - making the most of our windy conditions Wave Power - capturing the power of the sea, Photo Voltaic or Solar Panels - using the warmth/ light from the sun Deep Geothermal or hot rocks - using naturally occurring heat in the earth to generate energy. We can set targets for the amounts of renewable energy we generate so that we can become carbon neutral. We could make it easier for new wind turbines or large-scale solar panel installations. We can encourage alternatives like geothermal energy. We can encourage everyone to make the right decisions and use less. We could introduce positive policies to replace (repower) older wind turbines. This will make them more efficient. If appropriate, more turbines can go on new sites or sites that are already generating energy. By making it possible to store more of the renewable energy we generate, we can keep and use it in Cornwall.We can promote Smart grid technology to support the electricity network in the South West. More detailed information is available on renewable energy and mine water energy and deep geothermal.

Local Planning Authorities must make sure developers or builders look after the environment.  These gases or emissions can come from how we use land or when we make changes to the what we use land for. Looking after ecosystems helps nature to address climate change by keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere or reducing flood risk. Forests, peat bogs, salt marshes and seagrass beds all help to protect where we live. They also help during the dry spells or droughts that may happen because of climate change. Land that is not very good for growing food canbe improved or changed to create more of the natural solutions. These will help take harmful carbon from the atmosphere. We can also create havens for wildlife and plants giving us more green spaces to enjoy and learn from. Planning policies should help to conserve nature and will help to make sure this happens. More detailed information is available on natural climate solutions. 

In Cornwall fuel poverty affects over 31,000 houses. More people and houses in Cornwall have this problem than in other areas in England. Energy efficiency is important to protect the environment. So is making sure that people are able to heat and cook in their homes. The difficulty we face is we have a lot of very old houses in Cornwall and they are more difficult and cost more money to keep warm. Policies can encourage better ways to use the fuel that we have. They can help to make sure it is generated in a way that doesn't affect the environment. This also means reducing or stopping burning fossil fuels like coal or gas. In 2019 the Government started to consult on ways to increase energy efficiency in new homes. We are waiting to see what the Government decides as this will be what we have to do in Cornwall as well. This might mean that we can't always be as strict as we want to with the energy efficiency rules that we make in Cornwall. There are other ways suggested to help make up for this. Carbon Offsetting is one suggestion. This is where you do something positive for the environment such as create a new Green space or plant trees. More detailed information is available on building standards energy and sustainable construction

We need to change to ways of travelling that are healthier and kinder to the planet. A fifth of all harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from road transport. Most if that is from cars.A very small number of vehicles in the UK (0.5 % at the end of 2018) are ultralow-emission or vehicles using fuel other than diesel or petrol. One of the biggest challenges in reducing traffic is changing behaviour. It's very easy to use your own car and people often see buses or trains as less convenient.When planning for new development alternative transport can become easier to use and more attractive. This could help to create better habits where people may choose to walk, cycle or take the bus or train. Policies can make sure that new development has access to public transport. They can also include as many safe walking and cycling routes as possible. They could make sure they have a good mix of houses, schools, business and local services. Meaning more people are able to work locally and can walk or cycle to work or school. Other policy could make sure charging points for electric vehicles are available. That cycle parking and sheltered storage is in place for people who live in flats. More detailed information is available on transport

Worrying news stories, over the last few years show coastal damage and flooding. These events can happen more often with violent storms causing damage. That could also be because of the rising sea levels caused by global warming. We need to make sure we look after our coastline which can suffer from coastal erosion. Planning policies can make sure that development is in the right places. Not too close to the sea, on the beach or a cliff edge! Policies can ask developers or builders to carry out surveys to make sure the site isn't in a flood prone area. And to show that new building won't cause issues for nearby communities or buildings. Sometimes when land is disturbed it can cause flooding nearby. This is something that planning policy could help to stop. Cornwall Council want natural climate solutions to be a priority for developers. This will form part of the policies in the Climate Emergency DPD. More detailed information is available on coastal change and flood management. 

Agriculture contributes around 20% of Cornwall's Carbon footprint. It is important that proposals or development on farms reduce emissions. To support continued food production agriculture has less planning restrictions than other areas of development. Farming and estate management impact things like biodiversity and habitat for pollinators, bees and insects. They can also affect natural flood defences, biodiversity, food and fuel. Along with access to the countryside and the activities that help to keep us fit and healthy.

We are proposing policies to allow development, whilst committing to improving agricultural practices and estates. This will ensure that eco-system services continue to support the wider community. Land improvements can all help towards our aim of carbon neutrality. This can be by restoring wild nature to create habitat, wetlands and improving soil.

We have lots of rural villages. Sustainability and reducing travel are very important to help decrease Greenhouse Gas emissions. A policy is proposed to help bring back shops and employment back to villages and reduce the need to travel. More detailed information is available on agriculture and rural issues. 

Supporting self-sufficient lifestyles could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’re proposing a new policy based on the Welsh ‘One Planet Development’ policy that was raised during Scoping consultation. 

 Low impact means being self-sufficient, in a way that is positive for the environment. This means respecting the landscape and cultural heritage on and surrounding the site. It also means increasing biodiversity, improving air, water and soil quality.

A one planet development aims to be self-sufficient in energy, water and waste. It should also provide a large proportion of food and income from the land.

This would be a move away from national and local policy against development in the open countryside. It is critical that proposals prove they have a low impact approach One Planet development/alternative living.

There will be another official consultation period for you to tell us what you think over the coming months.

You can view or download the Climate Emergency DPD. You can respond or ask questions using the contact details below:


Or call: 0300 1234 151

Or write to: Climate Emergency DPD, Cornwall Council – Planning, PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TRURO, TR1 9EQ