East Devon District Council backs bid to give more clout to policies that tackle climate change

East Devon District Council (EDDC) will give additional weight to all policies that seek to address climate change.

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee this week backed a series of recommendations that aim to ensure  the authority is doing all it can to progress environmentally-friendly planning policies.

These included work to deliver more tree planting projects to help with carbon off-setting and backing a proposed 31 per cent uplift in energy-efficiency standards.

Councillors also agreed that the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan was the best way to set new standards to address climate change.

A recommendation put forward by Councillor Mike Howe to add weight to all the environmental policies in the current Local Plan was also also supported.

Cllr Howe, who is the chairman of the development management committee, said: “This is a quick and simple thing to be done and gives our planners added weight for applying our policies. It is essential and we need to do it.”

Ed Freeman, service lead for planning strategy and development management, told the committee that there were 22 policies in the existing Local Plan that aim to address climate change.

However, he said there is more that could be done and that some of the policies were out of date.

He added that the wording included was watered down at the request of the Local Plan inspector  -partly because it went beyond government policy at the time.

Mr Freeman added: “There is a lot already going on in the district and we have policies to make us [more]lower carbon than we could have been.

“Some of the policies might not have the teeth that we would like them to have.”

Cllr Paul Hayward said: “We must not accept anything less than the very best for the people we represent.”

Cllr Ollie Davey called for solar panels to be installed on all roofs of new properties in the UK.

But Cllr Allen said that, while he agreed with the principle, when he tried to put solar panels on his house, he could not because there was a tree in the way.

He added: “We must build houses to Passivhaus standard if we can and have to make sure they are affordable to the local population.

“It is going to be difficult to achieve, but we have to make sure people can actually live in the houses.”

The committee unanimously agreed to support the proposed uplift in energy efficiency standards for new homes in the current government consultation on ‘The Future Homes Standard’.

This could see a 31 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current standard.

Members agreed that the council should work in partnership with landowners, conservation groups and other public and private sector bodies to deliver more tree planting projects in the district.

This would involve assisting with carbon off-setting and enabling biodiversity enhancements.

They will also use the standards set out in the Cranbrook Plan as a starting point for the benchmark for energy efficiency and around climate change through the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan.

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