GHA Vanguard Network member Warwick District Council has received approval from the Planning Inspectorate for their Net Zero Carbon Development Plan Documents (DPD). 

On 9 April 2024, the Council received the Inspector’s Report which concluded that the Net Zero Carbon DPD is sound, and following this, the Council approved the adoption of the Net Zero Carbon DPD and SPD at a Council meeting on 15th May. The Net Zero Carbon DPD now forms part of Warwick District Council’s Local Development Plan.

The Net Zero Carbon DPD aims to minimise carbon emissions from buildings and ensure that new development in Warwick’s district will be net zero in operation (regulated emissions). The purpose of the SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) is to assist applicants with the implementation of the new policies by providing technical guidance to inform development designs and illustrate the measures applicants must consider in the preparation of an Energy Statement.

Warwick were supported by GHA Leader member Bioregional and planning consultancy Edgars to develop the documents, navigate the consultatation and examination processes, and provide technical and planning support to planning officers at the Council.

Key points from the DPD

Policy NZC1: Achieving Net Zero Carbon Development

  • New development of one or more new dwellings (C3 or C4 use class) and/or 1,000sqm or more of new non-residential floorspace, hotels (C1 use class) or residential institutions (C2 use class) should achieve net zero operational regulated carbon emissions by implementing the energy hierarchy.
  • For new dwellings, a minimum 63% reduction in carbon emissions is achieved by on-site measures, as compared to the baseline emission rate set by Building Regulations Part L 2021 (SAP 10.2).
  • Alternatively, applications may demonstrate the requirements of Policy NZC1 are met through the Passivhaus standard with accompanying PHPP calculations submitted within the energy statement (without the use of fossil fuels on site including gas). A condition will be applied requiring Passivhaus certification prior to occupation.
  • Furthermore, to ensure the energy performance gap is minimised we recommend the use of a recognised quality assurance process that ensures the ‘as built’ performance (energy use, carbon emissions, indoor air quality, and overheating risk) matches the calculated design performance of buildings. Examples of these include BEPIT (Building Energy Performance Improvement Toolkit), the Passivhaus accreditation process and the Assured Performance Process (NEF/GHA).

Policy NZC2(A): Making Buildings Energy Efficient

  • New development of one or more new dwellings (C3 or C4 use) are expected to demonstrate a 10% improvement on the Part L 2021 Target for Fabric Energy Efficiency (set by SAP10.2).
  • The 10% improvement in dwellings is set to reflect the approximate uplift to building fabric (U-values and airtightness) between Part L 2021 and the indicative Future Homes Standard 2025.

Policy NZC2(B): Zero or Low Carbon Energy Sources and Zero Carbon Ready Technology

  • New development of one or more new dwellings (C3 or C4 use class) and/or 1,000sqm or more of new non-residential floorspace, hotels (C1 use class), or residential institutions (C2 use class) should demonstrate through an energy statement that additional renewable, zero and low carbon energy technologies have been provided on-site* to achieve the carbon reductions required by Policy NZC1 and achieve on-site net zero operational carbon wherever possible.

Policy NZC3: Embodied Carbon

  • New major development should demonstrate in the energy statement or design statement how the embodied carbon of the proposed materials to be used in the development has been considered and reduced where possible, including with regard to the type, life cycle and source of materials to be used.
  • Proposals for development of 50 or more new dwellings and/or 5,000sqm or more of new non- residential floorspace should be accompanied by a whole-life assessment of the materials used.

Warwick District Council’s Programme Director for Climate Change, Dave Barber commented:

“Reducing the carbon footprint of all buildings is a key priority identified in the Council’s corporate strategy. Housing makes up around 20% of all carbon emissions across Warwick District, with institutional, industrial and commercial buildings making up a further 20%. The Council is therefore delighted to be implementing this planning policy in the district, and also extremely proud to be amongst the first councils in the country to do so.”

“By acting now, the Council can ensure that developers play their part in designing homes that do not use fossil fuels, therefore avoiding the need for expensive retrofits when the old-style energy systems become redundant. This new policy document will enable the district to help address the need for change in the way new homes are built for the benefit of generations to come.”

View the Net Zero Carbon DPD and the full article on Warwick District Council’s website.

Warwick’s DPD approved with net zero operational regulated carbon emissions target

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