Bath & North East Somerset adopts net zero housing policy

Liberal Democrat controlled Bath and North East Somerset Council has become the first council in England to adopt an energy-based net zero housing policy as part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The new housing development policy will ensure the energy use of any proposed development is measured and meets a specified target — setting a limit on the total energy use and demand for space heating. It will also require sufficient on-site renewable energy generation to match the total energy consumption of the buildings — ensuring the development is 100% self-sufficient.

New policies will also address building emissions such as a policy to limit carbon emissions resulting from the materials used in the construction of large-scale developments. These ‘upfront’ embodied carbon emissions will be limited to 900kg CO2 e/m2.

The council will also impose net zero operational carbon standards for new major non-residential development.

On 19 January, a special meeting of the council approved a local plan update which aims to better address council priorities including the climate and ecological emergencies.

Lib Dem Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Planning and Licensing, said:

Adoption of the Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) ensures our policies are aligned with the latest national policy and put us at the forefront nationally with policies related to the climate and ecological emergencies. Bath & North East Somerset Council is the first Local Planning Authority (LPA) in England to have an adopted Local Plan policy requiring a net zero energy balance for new housing and we are the first in the West of England to adopt a biodiversity net gain (BNG) policy.

A new Biodiversity Net Gain policy requires major developments to demonstrate a Biodiversity Net Gain of a minimum of 10% which is secured for at least 30 years. Minor developments will only be permitted where no net loss and appropriate net gain of biodiversity is secured.

Press release.

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  • This is only good if developments get approved. Otherwise it could be quite literally a net zero housing policy.

  • Andrew, any reason to think this will impede development? It will impede only sloppy development that doesn’t care about the product that gets built.

  • B&NES has claimed before that it is leading the UK with its CEE policies. I have argued with them asking how they can say they are leading rather than just “on the leaderboard “. This is their answer. Well done B&NES.

  • I hope this is a true net zero housing policy, namely zero increase in total energy consumption across the Bath and North East Somerset district, regardless of production method. Ie. any development has to reduce energy consumption of existing housing. Otherwise it will be yet more green washing…

    >@ Andrew T “Otherwise it could be quite literally a net zero housing policy.”
    Nothing wrong with this, population reduction will be a big contributor to achieving net zero.

  • Martin Gray 29th Jan '23 - 7:52am

    How about building homes for those at the bottom – stuck on the housing waiting list year after year after year …No amount of Virtue Signalling is going to change their situation..

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