Essex Climate Action Commission and Essex County Council commissioned Estelle Dehon KC at Cornerstone Barristers to provide legal advice on the matter concerning the ability of local planning authorities to set local plan policies that require development to achieve energy efficiency standards above Building Regulations.

The open advice document available below establishes the legal justification for requiring higher targets for energy performance standards for development than the national baseline and can be relied upon by local planning authorities in open fora, such as public inquiries and local plan examinations. 

Clause 2.5 – “The exception – the draft Area Action Plan for Salt Cross, found unsound in a report published on 1 March 2023 – is based on a misunderstanding of both national policy and the PEA 2008. There is therefore nothing in the Salt Cross decision which should dissuade an LPA from seeking to adopt net zero policies requiring high new build fabric efficiency standards, provided the LPA evidence such policies thoroughly and clearly indicates an awareness of the impact of the proposed policies on the viability of development.”

New legal advice supports local authorities in setting progressive local plan policies

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