South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

Comment ID 1938
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Environmental Quality Addressing Climate Change in South Somerset Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Pip Tucker View all by this respondent
Response Date 18 Sep 2019


This aspect of the Review is significant for Public Health both because climate breakdown is a threat to health, and because many of the mitigations, such as active travel and good insulation of dwellings, also have beneficial effects on health. We welcome the commitment to sustainability in the Review, but argue that it needs to be more ambitious to reflect the ‘climate emergency’ that has been declared at a national and local level.  For instance, the vision for 2036 describes ‘low carbon towns’ (3.4); is ‘low carbon’ at that stage sufficient to reach the net zero carbon target set nationally for only 14 years later?  The local plan is an opportunity to act as a local leader in this regard.

The definition of ‘sustainable development’ (4.1) describes the objectives, but does not set thresholds for sustainability. This means that it is not clear on what grounds of sustainability a development could be refused: these could be defined – in terms of local energy and sustainable construction (14.16), biodiversity (14.23), flood risk (14.17-22) or need for a private motor car – and used force up standards.

Whilst the Town and Country Planning Association, in Planning for the Climate Challenge, discussed sustainability, quite reasonably, in terms of carbon emissions[1], developments could also have broader measures of sustainability, as described in the previous paragraph.  This would help guide developers, as well as providing a monitoring framework that can hold sustainability to account.  As the TCPA state in an assessment of local plans:

‘Nor was there any evidence of the monitoring of wider climate adaptation measures beyond the amount of housing allocated in floodplains collated by the Environment Agency. The wider contrast between this position and national data collected for the quantum of housing is striking’ (p.53).