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Climate Change Development Plan Document

We need your help to help address the Climate Change Emergency

Public Consultation on scoping of the new Climate Change Development Plan Document (DPD) – 30 March – 26 May 2020

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We are creating a new planning document, the Scoping Climate Change DPD to help us tackle the challenges of Climate Change through planning. This document will help us too meet our ambitions by strengthening existing policies, creating new ones and making allocations that address the climate change issues affecting Cornwall.

On 18 March 2020, Cornwall Council's Cabinet approved a first document for public consultation. This scoping document provides some initial ideas of what planning might be able to do and is designed for our communities, businesses and other interested people to make suggestions for new policies or allocations. 

Consultation (known as regulation 18 scoping consultation) started on the 30 March and ends on the 26 May 2020.

Due to the unprecedented situation caused by Covid-19, the first round of consultation will be held predominantly online, and no face to face events or exhibitions will be organised during the current health emergency. This is to protect the health of our communities. We recognise that people may want to contribute ideas and comments through other means - if you are unable to view the document online, we may be able to arrange a paper copy and will organise online events and question and answer sessions on Skype.

For questions that you might have on the document please email climatechange.dpd@cornwall.gov.uk or call: 0300 1234 151.

There will be two further chances to tell us what you think during the production of the document, although you can make comments at any time during the process. Please see Response Questionnaire, Notice of Publication and Statement of Representations.

Cornwall has declared a climate emergency and we urgently need to change the way things are done to address it. Our aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, is a massive ask and will need a combined effort from the Council along with other agencies, businesses, residents and visitors to take this huge step. We will also be calling on Westminster to provide the necessary powers and funding to deliver our ambitions.

All services across the Council will have a part to play and planning is just part of the solution. We need to continue to be able to house our residents, provide infrastructure and ensure that our children and grandchildren have a Cornwall in which they can continue to live and work. Planning Policies will have a major impact on the way that places grow and change and how we protect and shape the Cornwall of the future. 

Cornwall already has a Local Plan that includes a number of adopted policies aimed at shaping development and addressing climate change. They alone are not enough, and we are creating a new planning document, the Scoping Climate Change DPD (link to scoping climate change DPD) to help us meet our ambitions by strengthening existing policies, creating new ones and making allocations that address the climate change issues effecting Cornwall. These changes will be made alongside other legislation being proposed by Government to help protect our environment and to make sure that development is sustainable and relevant and that policies are enforced.

At this stage we are gathering the evidence from experts and stakeholders on a wide range of themes from building standards through renewable energy to natural climate solutions. This evidence has been used to identify the issues that we think we need to address and to create some policy options to do so. Now is your chance to comment on the issues and options that we have identified and tell us whether we have missed anything that should be included. This scoping consultation is the first stage in a statutory planning process for the development of 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 and to share your ideas for the future of a more sustainable and resilient Cornwall. 

What can planning do to help?

  • Planning policies are 'rules' that you must follow if you are building or making changes to our landscape, they help protect the environment and people.
  • The Government make planning laws nationally that we must follow. This means we are not always allowed to make our own rules stricter just for Cornwall.
  • Only the Government can change National Policies (such as how buildings should be constructed) if we want to do something different, we need to ask for the rules to change. This is called lobbying and it's something anyone can do.
  • Planning follows a complicated legal process and uses language that sometimes mean very little to non-planners or lawyers! But this is needed to make sure that rules are legal and can be enforced.
  • The Climate Change Development Plan Document is our way of creating new rules (planning policies) that encourage better development, that uses less energy, with buildings that survive future changes in the climate and that protect the planet.
  • We want to know what you think we should do when we make the new rules.

There will be three main chances to tell us what you think, although you can make comments at anytime during the process. 

This is the stage where we set out what we think could be new policies or ones that we already have that need to be stronger. But, we are asking people for as much information and as many ideas as possible to help us understand areas where you think we need to make or improve rules/ policies. 

Policies are being considered to support:

  • Renewable or green energy
  • Protecting and enhancing the natural environment
  • More energy efficient houses and buildings
  • More suitable travel 
  • Supporting and protecting our communities with floods and coastal change.

During this scoping consultation you can let us know what you think or suggest things you think should be investigated. 

  • We will consider all of the ideas put forward and come up with some suggested Planning policies or changes to ones we already have using all the information from the scoping stage.
  • Whilst we can’t act on every suggestion through planning policies, we will consider them and decide which can be consulted on as policies.
  • Further consultation will be held later in the year (around August 2020)

We all use electricity and the amount we need is expected to double over the next 50 years as we move away from using fossil fuels for energy. At the moment only a third of energy we use is renewable and to meet what we use at the moment the rest comes from non-renewable sources or those that can affect the atmosphere and cause pollution. 

In the future it is expected that we will need around five times the current amount of renewable energy to keep up with 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
  • Anaerobic Digesters - using waste products to generate energy. 

The things we can do to support renewable energy could be by setting targets for the amounts of renewable energy we generate so we can become carbon neutral. 

We could make it easier for new wind turbines to be put in suitable locations, or for large scale solar panel installations. We can encourage the alternatives such as geothermal energy and can encourage everyone to make the right decisions. We could introduce positive policies to replace (or repower) older wind turbines, making them more efficient, and where appropriate we could allow more turbines on new sites and at sites that are already generating energy.

By making it possible to store more of the renewable energy that we generate, we can help to make sure we can use it in Cornwall, at times when its needed the most. We could also promote Smart grid technology to help support the electricity network in the South West.

More detailed information is available on this renewable energy

We can promote natural ways to fight climate change by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases or emissions can be caused by how we use land or when we make changes to the what we use land and we need to think about how we can do this better and at the same time take extra carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

One way to help this is to look after our ecosystems, these are the way that nature helps to look after the atmosphere with natural climate solutions. Things like forests, peat bogs, salt marshes and seagrass beds all help to protect where we live from flooding and the dry spells or droughts that we believe are happening more often because of climate change. 

Land that is not very good for growing food could be improved or changed to create more of the natural solutions. These will help take harmful carbon from the atmosphere and are a haven for wildlife and plants giving us more Green spaces to enjoy and learn from.

The Government has asked Local Planning Authorities to help developers or builders to think about how they build and to think of better ways to make sure they look after the environment. Planning policies/ rules should be made that help to conserve nature and will help to make sure this happens.

More detailed information is available on natural climate change solutions.

In Cornwall fuel poverty, (where people don't have enough money to keep their homes warm) affects over 31,000 houses. More people and houses in Cornwall have this problem than in other areas in England. Energy efficiency is important in protecting the environment and making sure that people are able to heat and cook in their homes. This is difficult because 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 and to make sure it is generated in a way that doesn't affect the environment. This can mean looking at new ways of generating electricity and stopping burning fossil fuels like coal or gas.

On the 1st October 2019 the Government started to ask people and experts about ways to increase energy efficiency for new homes in 2020. We are waiting to see what the Government decides as this will be what we have to do in Cornwall as well.

This means that we can't always be as strict as we want to in the energy efficiency rules that we make in Cornwall. However, there are other ways that we are suggesting that can help us make up for this, such as 'Carbon Offsetting,' 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

 We need to change to ways of travelling that are kinder to the planet. A fifth of all harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from road Transport, and most of this is caused by cars. Only a very small number of vehicles in the UK (0.5 % at the end of 2018) were ultralow-emission or vehicles using fuel other than diesel or petrol.

One of the biggest challenges in reducing traffic is changing behavior. It's very easy to use your own car and people often see buses or trains as less convenient. 

When new developments, houses, schools, shops and businesses are planned they can be asked to look at making alternative transport easier to use and more attractive. This could help to create better habits where people may walk ot cycle or take the bus or train.

Policies could help to make sure that new development is in areas that have access to public transport and have as many safe walking and cycling routes as possible. They could also help to make sure that they have a mix of houses, schools, business and local services so that more people are able to work locally and can walk or cycle to work or school.

Other policy could look at making sure charging points for electric vehicles are available and that cycle parking and sheltered storage is in place for people who live in flats.

More detailed information is available on this transport

There have been lots of news stories over the last few years about damage to the coast and flooding that can be very worrying. They may happen more often as there are more big storms causing damage and because of the rising sea levels that are caused by global warming. 

We need to make sure we look after our coastline which can be badly affected by coastal erosion. Planning policies can make sure that developments (houses, schools, shops, businesses and roads,) are built in the right places, not too close to the sea, on the beach or a cliff edge!

Policies could be made that ask developers or builders to have made checks and have surveys to make sure the site isn't in an area that is likely to flood. They could also be asked to make sure the site that they have investigated to make sure new building won't cause any problems in the future for nearby communities or buildings. Sometimes when land is disturbed by development it can cause unexpected problems with flooding nearby and this is something that planning policy could help to stop.

As part of the Climate Change DPD, Cornwall Council could think about ways to make it usual for natural climate solutions to be thought about when development or building is happening.

More detailed information is available on coastal change. 

Agriculture currently contributes around 20% of Cornwall's Carbon footprint, so it will be important to support proposals or development on farms that is designed to reduce emissions.

Due to a system that has been in place since 1948, to support continued food production , Agriculture currently has less planning restrictions in place than other areas of development.

However, there are clear eco-sysyem links on farms and estates that impact things like habitat for pollinators like bees and insects, natural flood defences, biodiversity, food and fuel and access to the countryside with the benefits and activities that help to keep us fit and healthy.

Whole Estate Plans that allow development, but with an added commitment to improve agriculture practices and estates can help improve how land is managed making sure that eco-system services continue to support the wider community. Land improvements, that help with carbon management like restoring wild nature to create habitat, wetlands and improving soil can all help towards our aim of carbon neutrality. 

Cornwall's population is spread over a large area, so increasing sustainability and reducing the need to travel is very important to help decrease carbon emissions. A policy that and supports clusters and facilities that could be shared by a number of smaller settlements may also help to reduce the need to travel and distances travelled. 

More detailed information is available on agriculture and rural issues

Town centres are in decline as shopping areas change and retail stores close, sadly this isn't unique to Cornwall. Government changes to permitted development have tried to address the decline and increasing density in town centres could help address the impacts of climate change.  

There is a lot of evidence around issues facing our towns. Planning policies encouraging other uses for buildings and changing the way town centres are used can help to revitalise them and could help address the impacts of climate change. 

Investment in public transport and cycling infrastructures can change behavior, reduce car usage and connect people to jobs. Mixed-use buildings, with good public transport and Green spaces help create a more vibrant town. 

More detailed information is available on town densification.