Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

13 - Quality Development

Sustainable Design

13.1 Sustainable design can make an important contribution to sustainable development and aid a reduction in carbon emissions. The Government has put on hold, its Zero Carbon Initiative and is likely to review its approach to reducing carbon emissions. There are a number of measures that can be considered in the design of new development that will help reduce energy consumption and provide resilience to increased temperatures, such as:

  • the use of landform
  • layout
  • provision of adequate space for recycling and composting
  • building orientation to maximise summer cooling through natural ventilation in buildings and increasing passive solar gain
  • tree planting
  • landscaping

13.2 Landscaping can be particularly beneficial as it can provide stepping stones, wildlife corridors or new habitats, and contribute to Thanet's Green Infrastructure network. In terms of adapting to climate change, integrating vegetation (i.e. planting on building walls and roofs) can help to reduce solar gain as vegetation has a much higher reflective capacity than masonry, as well as providing a cooling effect through evapo-transpiration. Planting can also help mitigate against poor air quality by presenting a large surface area for filtering air. A large tree can deliver the same cooling capacity as five large air conditioning units running for 20 hours a day during hot weather. New planting can help provide more comfortable, cooler spaces via summer shading.

13.3 Within the context of an established development pattern, the most significant change likely to generate demand for travel will result from new housing development. It is necessary, therefore, to consider the location of development in areas accessible to a range of services on foot and by public transport, preventing urban sprawl and improving local high streets and town centres. Methods such as providing showers and changing facilities in employment related development and locating cycle parking close to town centres/entrances will also help reduce the need to travel by car.

13.4 Building insulation is a simple way of maximising energy efficiency and thereby reducing energy demands. Poor insulation is one of the leading causes of energy wastage in homes. In areas of deprivation this can lead to households being in fuel poverty. The definition of Fuel Poverty is when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income on energy to maintain acceptable levels of warmth. This is considered to be a temperature of 21oC- 23oC in the main living area of a home and 18oC in other areas. Fuel poverty is influenced by three key factors - the cost of fuel, the income of the household and the energy efficiency of the home. The energy efficiency of the home is one area that planning can influence through policy.

13.5 The latest figures from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 2015 (updated 2017) for Thanet show that 11.3% households in Thanet were defined as being fuel poor which has increased from 10.3% in 2013 (DECC figures) Source: DECC Fuel Poverty Statistic 2013 (Low Income High Cost model indicator) (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics#2013-statistics)

13.6 In addition, since the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates in 2007, The District is still only achieving low levels of A to C energy efficiency in new builds for example, 0.4% of EPCs lodged in 2016 achieving an "A" energy rating, 7% achieving EPC rating B and 22% achieving energy rating C. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-energy-performance-of-buildings-certificates

13.7 To help reduce fuel poverty and improve the energy rating, all new homes should seek to maximise energy efficiency through improved insulation eg roof, wall, floor insulation and energy efficient windows. Other initiatives can include on site options such as LED street lights, photovoltaic (solar) panels, electric vehicle charging, near site options - eg financial contributions towards site based district heating scheme, retro fitting of low/zero carbon technologies to local communal buildings. Off-site options - investment in energy from waste plants, investment in district heating pipe work. These are addressed the Climate Change chapter.

13.8 For existing residential developments there are a number of other initiatives such as the Kent and Medway Warm Homes scheme which is a partnership project between Kent County Council and district councils to support residents in Kent and Medway to save energy in their home. In addition Kent Housing Group consulted on the Kent Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2016 and is producing an Action Plan.

13.9 The requirements to provide these could have an impact on the viability of development in Thanet. The Council commissioned a Whole Plan Viability Study to ensure that policies in the Plan and has concluded that development in Thanet remains viable after taking these requirements into account.

13.10 The following policy seeks to ensure that new development achieves the necessary levels of sustainable design and construction and should be read in conjunction with the policy on the new technical standards.

Policy QD01 - Sustainable Design

All new buildings and conversions of existing buildings must be designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and function in a changing climate. All developments will be required to:

1. Achieve a high standard of energy efficiency in line with most recent government guidance and building regulations.

2. Make the best use of solar energy passive heating and cooling, natural light, natural ventilation and landscaping.

3. Provide safe and attractive cycling and walking opportunities to reduce the need to travel by car.

All new buildings and conversions of existing buildings must be designed to use resources sustainably. This includes, but is not limited to:

4. Re-using existing buildings and vacant floors wherever possible;

5. Designing buildings flexibly from the outset to allow a wide variety of possible uses;

6. Using sustainable materials wherever possible and making the most sustainable use of other materials;

7. Minimising waste and promoting recycling, during both construction and occupation.