WinACC’s response to Winchester’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy: Options and Issues Paper
The LDF Core Strategy: Issues and Options paper presents a wide range of options covering some of the most important policy areas that will determine the way Winchester City Council will address the challenges of climate change. This response is largely restricted to answering Question 15 of the questionnaire in the paper. However, the principles outlined in the response apply equally to many other topic areas in the LDF and these answers to Question 15 should also be taken as responding to other questions in so far as they relate to climate change.
- Response to Question 15a: Option 2 – that in tackling climate change Winchester District should aim to exceed the minimum climate change targets - is supported
- Response to Question 15b: The reasons why more stringent climate change targets need to be set for the District include:
- Winchester City Council must demonstrate decisive leadership on this most important matter. Its Climate Change Framework puts tackling climate change as the most significant challenge facing the council. It is essential that Winchester City Council sets a clear lead for residents of the district and for other local authorities by adopting the most effective policies and targets in its LDF Core Strategy. The targets set out in Option 2 are the least that should be adopted.
- In its Climate Change Framework document, Winchester City Council has set the target of achieving, by 2015, a 30% reduction in carbon emissions in the district from the 2004 baseline. The targets set out in Option 1 seem unlikely to be sufficient to deliver this target. Option 2 is the minimum that should be included in the LDF to give any realistic chance of achieving the 30% reduction.
- The financial implications of climate change were assessed in the report produced by Sir Nicholas Stern. In it, the cost of action is estimated as being between 5 and 20 times less than the cost of inaction. It goes on to state that the earlier this investment can be made, the less the impacts of climate change will be felt. Option 2 will require greater investment, but will bring greater rewards for this district.
- The Government has indicated that a reduction of 80% in carbon emissions may well become the target (currently 60%) for all local authorities to meet by 2050. This (along with other similar targets) is likely to be brought earlier and hardened, so it is essential that Winchester City Council acts decisively now to avoid the risk of being unable to meet the more onerous targets that will probably be imposed in the future. Progress made by authorities such as Woking (72% carbon reduction 1990-2002) and promised by others (Eastleigh to be carbon-neutral by 2012) adds pressure on Winchester City Council to choose Option 2 to demonstrate the necessary corporate commitment.
- The BREEAM Ecohome standards proposed in Option 2 are those proposed by PUSH for all development in the PUSH area. If Winchester City Council does not adopt at least the same targets for development within the district, developers may avoid building in the PUSH area in favour of the financially more favourable conditions across the rest of the Winchester district. This would leave Winchester with new homes of a lower environmental standard than is needed to achieve its targets.
- Option 2 will impose some extra costs on development, although this is likely to be less than predicted as market pressures will force down the cost of higher environmental standards. The high price of buying a home in Winchester will allow the increased costs of achieving the higher standards to be subsumed with only a small increase in the percentage cost. As the finished home will be of a higher quality and attract lower future bills, a premium price could reasonably be expected. Option 2 is affordable for Winchester as compared with other districts.
- Apart from its location and natural environment, the feature that makes Winchester stand out from its immediate neighbours as a good place to live is the character and quality of its built environment. The City Council should always adopt policies to enshrine that character and quality. Option 2 provides the basis for such policies far better than Option 1.
- Response to Question 15c: Winchester City Council should seriously consider adopting the following additional targets:
- A significant percentage of all homes in the District should be retrofitted with appropriate environmental measures to bring them up to the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Code Level 3 and a lower percentage to Code Level 4 (BREEAM ‘Excellent’) by 2015. A similar degree of retrofitting should be targeted for commercial properties.
- All new developments – residential and commercial - should make a contribution to a new climate change fund on a tariff basis. The climate change fund would be held by the city council to fund retrofitting of older homes.
- All new developments – residential and commercial – should be built to the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Code Level 5 and to Code Level 6 (zero carbon) after 2012. Developments that fail to deliver to the relevant level (but which do meet the targets set in Option 2) should be required to make an additional contribution to the new climate change fund on a tariff basis.
- All new developments – residential and commercial – should include measures to produce significantly higher proportion of their energy needs than the 20% listed in Option 2. By 2016, this level of local energy generation will look poor, so a more exacting target, possibly phased in and flexible, needs to be included. It is accepted that the market for local generation of energy, particularly micro-generation, is not mature in UK, but that will quickly change over the next few years, so targets need to reflect this.
- The council should commit to a target for the amount of new homes that are built with one or zero car parking spaces. This target needs to differentiate between the rural, suburban and urban (near to very good public transport) areas.
- From 2012, all new developments – residential and commercial – must acquire a significant proportion of the materials used in construction from sustainable sources. Although the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM do consider the sourcing of material, it is only one of 6-9 measures. A separate target should be set and increased by 2016.
- Targets (supporting appropriate enabling policies) should be set for each type of adaptation measure, e.g. sustainable drainage schemes, retrofitted homes, renewable energy (including micro-generation) schemes, building orientation to use natural heat and light.