RIF Climate Consulting - How the RIF approach can help and how it links to planning policycan help and how it links to planning policy
How the (C)RIF approach can help.And how it links to planning policy Jonathan Galton, Climate Consulting 20th June 2012 West Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds 21st June 2012 Robertson House, Hertfordshire Development Centre
Chaos… "Theres been a proliferation of wind farms across XXXX-shire in recent years. We feel that enough is enough. Although we understand the need for alternative energy and are not opposed to all wind farms, we remain unconvinced by the questionable science behind them.“ (Leader of XXXX-shire Council) “DO we have enough wind to generate electricity in Suffolk from wind turbines? I would like more research before the area is littered with them.” (Consultation Response to a Suffolk District’s Area Action Plan). “*Proposed Local Planning+ Policy… should have minimum requirements for new large (50+ units) residential developments [to install] solar energy units on all roofs and air source heat pumps on all houses.” (Consultation Response to a Suffolk District’s Area Action Plan).
Questions to ask yourselves• Where does your district/county position itself regarding renewables? – Trailblazing/ambitious? – Compliant with national requirements? (e.g. Climate Change Act, NPPF) – Cautious/conservative/skeptical? (e.g. with regards to wind turbines or energy from waste). – Proactive or reactive?• What planning policies are you going to set?• How will you respond to individual renewables applications?• How will you scope opportunities for renewables at the “greater than development level”?• What sources of funding could you tap into? Including site-generated funding (e.g. CIL, s106, “allowable solutions”)?
What sort of answers do you need?• Thorough understanding of national legislative and policy framework – E.g. National Planning Policy Framework (para 97-98)• “Numbers not adjectives” – How much energy can wind/biomass/solar etc. generate in your district/county? – What are the costs involved (capital, Net Present Value etc.)? And to whom? – What is the existing energy demand in your area? – What growth/development is expected in the next 5, 10, 20 years?• Practicalities – Drivers and incentives? – Financing – who, how?• People – Community consultation – views, aspirations, fears – Public-sector interest – Commercial sector interest
How to get these answers?• Regional Renewable Energy Capacity Study (DECC methodology) – e.g. East of England Renewable Energy Capacity Study, gives theoretical and “realistic” renewable resource predictions for each LA in the East of England.• Renewable Infrastructure Framework (county-level?) – E.g. CRIF, which adds a detailed financial analysis and set of delivery pathways. – E.g. Community Energy Fund study – financial analysis for specific context of allowable solutions.• District/borough–specific studies? (risk of “silo” working unless learnings can be shared with other LAs). – E.g. Investigating Decentralised Energy in Bury St Edmunds. – E.g. Babergh’s position on sustainable energy• Consultation should be a “golden thread” running through all of this – but how best to do this?
What are the benefits of thisapproach?• An “evidence base” to inform and justify a county/district’s approach to sustainable energy.• A clear context in which planning policies can sit• Co-ordinated action for multiple stakeholders with economic argument to underpin it: – Public sector (e.g. LA departments, including development control). – Commercial sector (e.g. developers, industry) – Community sector (e.g. neighbourhood forums, from those desperate to get a local anaerobic digestor to those determined to block wind applications at all costs!)
What are the risks of not adoptingthis approach?• Too many adjectives, not enough numbers? – E.g. “Wind turbines are unsightly and inefficient and shouldn’t be permitted in XXXX!”• Or at least no context for the numbers: – E.g. “Our proposal for a wind farm in the Abbey Gardens will bring 6,500 jobs to the community and generate 750 MWh per year!”• Risk of “unbridled” renewables applications in inappropriate locations.• (Specifically without a CEF): Finance accrued through allowable solutions won’t (necessarily) benefit local area.