Tackling Climate Change
Tackling climate change is a cross cutting theme of the Core Strategy and it includes policies to encourage energy efficiency in new developments and encourage renewable and low carbon energy generation in the City. This all helps to reduce carbon emissions.
Planning for climate change involves seeking to limit the impact of new developments by reducing or minimising their carbon emissions. Climate change is already happening and in the future is likely to bring about more extremes of weather locally such as higher winds, rising sea levels, higher rainfall and also longer droughts.
Nevertheless, as well as trying to mitigate the effects of development on the climate, we must also look to make sure that development can adapt to future climate change. For example, proper provision of green infrastructure can help in this regard, by helping to absorb surface water and also by providing shade.
Efficiency Energy Generation
The Core Strategy requires all new developments to be designed and built in a sustainable way. New buildings must be constructed to reach energy efficiency standards set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM.
Energy Sites for Renewable
Government guidance encourages local authorities to consider identifying areas suitable for renewable and low carbon energy. The Core Strategy does not identify particular sites, but does set out criteria in Policy 28 against which proposals will be assessed.
To assist local planning authorities, Lancashire County Council commissioned a study to look at the renewable energy potential of each district. This is a desktop study looking at the technical potential resource - further detailed work would need to be done to establish what is deployable in practical terms. Many factors can influence what is actually deployed, including environmental, economic and planning constraints.
The study is based on a previous study done for the whole of the North West, and uses an established method. It looks at a range of different technologies, from wind to micro generation.
The Preston study found that Preston has a potential renewable energy capacity of 661 Mega-Watts (MW), or about 6% of the total capacity identified for Lancashire. Preston has considerable potential for renewable energy generation from micro generation reflecting the city's urban characteristics and population density.
It also has some potential for wind generation. There is relatively little potential from other sources.
Micro generation typically refers to renewable energy systems that can be integrated into buildings to primarily serve the on-site demand. They are applicable to both domestic and non-domestic buildings and can be connected to the grid.
Micro generation technologies cover the full range of renewable energy categories: wind, solar, biomass, hydropower and heat pumps. Solar water heating and solar voltaic are increasingly popular due to recent government incentives.
A significant proportion of Preston's total potential (285MW or 43%) comprises commercial wind (commercial scale on-shore wind farms, or individual turbines). These are assumed to need an average wind speed of 5m/s at 45 m above the ground in order to be viable.
There is also some potential for small-scale wind comprising installations of less than 100kW, typically being turbines with tip heights of 15 m or so.
The government has taken steps to increase the scope of what householders and businesses can install in terms of micro generation technologies without requiring planning permission.
Policy guidance concerning commercial scale wind energy and other technologies that require planning permission is contained in Core Strategy Policy 28. We have not sought to identify suitable sites for commercial scale energy developments - any proposals will be assessed against Policy 28 and other relevant policies.
The installation of appropriate decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy sources is encouraged. The scale of development promoted in the Core Strategy and this Local Plan at Cottam and North West Preston means that developers should look to provide the most efficient and sustainable forms of heat and energy possible.
This could include district heating or decentralised energy networks. This is one way that the requirement set out in Core Strategy Policy 27 (b) concerning the reduction of carbon emissions by 15% could be achieved.
Managing Flood Risk
Climate change may mean increased summer temperatures and a higher risk of flooding or drought. This Local Plan can help adapt to these changing conditions by directing development away from those areas at high risk of flooding.
This has been part of our site selection process. New developments are also encouraged to deploy sustainable drainage systems for surface water. These can be incorporated into the green infrastructure network.
In allocating sites, we have also taken account of sewer capacity.
The Core Strategy has a dedicated air quality policy, which aims to improve air quality through various initiatives. Air quality issues can be a material consideration when considering development proposals.
Every local authority in England and Wales has a statutory duty to review local air quality under the Environment Act 1995. The aim of the review process is to identify any areas where the Government's National Air Quality Standards and Objectives for 7 key pollutants are likely to be exceeded, to declare any such areas an 'Air Quality Management Area' and then to prepare action plans to show what can be done to improve air quality in these areas.
Air quality in Preston
Following the results of the Detailed Assessment in 2004, two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) were declared in September 2005, at Church Street / Ringway (AQMA1) and Blackpool Road / Plungington Road (AQMA2). In both these areas it is likely that levels will exceed those set by the National Air Quality Objectives for nitrogen dioxide.
Following this declaration of the two Air Quality Management Areas, the Council was required to complete and implement an Air Quality Action Plan to reduce the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide.
Much is related to traffic, and particularly stationary traffic. The Council works closely with the highway authority (Lancashire County Council) to address these issues.
Further AQMAs have been designated close to Broughton Cross (AQMA3) on 27 April 2012, on New Hall Lane (AQMA4) on 1 May 2012. AQMA5 at London Road was declared in March 2014.
The government is promoting the use of electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles through grants and other initiatives.
The greater use of electric vehicles will help reduce traffic emissions and noise. The government has taken steps to enable more public charging points to be provided - they are now permitted development.