Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Review - Proposed Submission Local Plan

Proposed Submission Local Plan

3 Energy, Climate Change and Flooding

3.1 Introduction

3.1.1 The planning system is tasked with supporting the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate. It is directed, by Government policy in the NPPF, to shape places in ways that contribute to “radical reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience. As part of that, it is tasked with supporting renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure.

3.1.2 Local Plans are also legally obliged to include policies ‘designed to secure’ that the development and use of land contributes to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. National policy (NPPF, footnote 48) also reminds planning authorities that Local Plans are obliged to proactively contribute towards the legally binding requirement of emissions in the UK to become net zero by 2050.

3.1.3 Put another way, this Local Plan would be unlawfully produced if it did not meaningfully contribute to reducing emissions, help mitigate against climate change and help society adapt to a changing climate.

3.1.4 The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (CLJSPC) is rising to that challenge as set by parliament. No longer will planning decision makers in Central Lincolnshire merely ‘encourage’ development proposals to achieve certain standards, or only ‘welcome’ development that goes a little beyond certain building regulation basic minimums. Development in Central Lincolnshire must do, and can do, far better than that. We are legally obliged to do more. And, for future generations, we are morally obliged to do more.

3.1.5 The four authorities which are represented on the CLJSPC have all recognised the climate crisis we face and the urgent need for action. Indeed, if we continue to emit around 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 in Central Lincolnshire (as we did in 2018), then by around 2026/27 we will have emitted around 9 million tonnes. 9 million tonnes is Central Lincolnshire’s entire CO2 lifetime budget (or fair share) of global emissions, as calculated by the Tyndall Centre, if the globe is to stay under 2°C rise in temperatures as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Put another way, if we continue to emit CO2 in Central Lincolnshire like we presently do, then from around 2027 we will have exceeded our budget or allowance, and we would then have to rely on other locations to emit less than their fair share to compensate for our excess emissions. Staying below 9 million tonnes does not mean we have to be net zero carbon here in Central Lincolnshire by 2026/27. But it does mean that the earlier we act now, the more energy we conserve now and the more renewable energy we generate now, then the longer timeframe we get to use up our 9 million tonnes of CO2 The further we push that end date of consuming the 9 million tonnes beyond 2026, the greater chance we all have of achieving a smooth transition to a net zero carbon Central Lincolnshire.

3.1.6 Whilst this Local Plan cannot do everything (it especially has very limited influence over existing buildings, for example), it can ensure that new development, from the day this Plan has been adopted, be fit for a zero-carbon future, contribute to the transition to a net-zero carbon society, and be responsive to a changing climate. In fact, only such development is welcome in Central Lincolnshire.

3.1.7 The Central Lincolnshire Joint Committee recognises both the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for a radical new approach by the planning system to help reduce carbon emissions. But it also recognises that the policy response to the climate crisis, and the implementation of any such policies, is new territory for Central Lincolnshire and, indeed, is not established policy elsewhere in the country.  As such, the Central Lincolnshire authorities are committed to working with all those involved in the planning system, and especially applicants, so that the policies of this Plan can be implemented smoothly and effectively. To help with this, we will publish a series of guidance notes or template forms, which will help applicants provide the right information first time, thus speeding up the process and providing clarity for all.

The Evidence Base

3.1.8 As with many aspects of planning policy, it is important to establish what the evidence is first, in order to provide an appropriate policy response. For this chapter, a prime source of evidence was a set of reports prepared by consultants over 2020/21, and published in their final form in June 2021. Such evidence is available on our website, and provides a compelling case for a robust policy framework. The policies in this Chapter are heavily influenced by the recommendations arising from that work.

3.1.9 Overall, the evidence points to five main themes in need of policy attention:

  • The need to reduce energy consumption in new build;
  • The need to generate energy from renewable sources;
  • The need to protect or enhance natural ‘carbon sinks’;
  • The need to facilitate a transition to net-zero carbon lifestyles; and
  • The need to adapt to a changing climate.

3.1.10 This chapter is structured around the above five themes.

3.2 Theme One - Reducing Energy Consumption in New Build

3.2.1 The first section focusses on making sure development approved today will have a much-reduced energy demand, and, in doing so, stand the test of time and be fit for a net-zero carbon future. It is a false economy and unfair on future generations to provide sub-standard development now, which will only require expensive and destructive retrofitting measures later. As Government itself stated in January 2021 “it is significantly cheaper and easier to install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures when homes are built, rather than retrofitting them afterwards.” [1]

3.2.2 Development now must therefore be of the highest possible thermal efficiency. The expected energy use of such buildings must be as low as possible. And new development must, as the final step, take all practical and reasonable steps to generate low or zero carbon energy itself.

3.2.3 Overall, developers should follow the design principles for efficient buildings as part of all design proposals, as set out in Policy S6.

3.2.4 The more effort that is put into steps 1-3 of the Policy, the more reward can be achieved, and the least amount needs to be achieved by steps 4 and 5. Put another way, developers should not start their thinking at step 4 or 5; they will be the least effective and most expensive options towards reducing carbon emissions. The National Design Guide (January 2021) provides some preliminary further guidance on the design principles set out below, and a number of other organisations such as TCPA and BRE provide expertise and guidance. However, the intention is that bespoke guidance will be produced for the Central Lincolnshire area upon adoption of this Local Plan, potentially in the form of Supplementary Planning Document(s) or Design Codes, which will further assist all parties to meet Policy S6 and other policies in this Chapter. Such guidance is intended to be in the form of example and best practice designs, as well as further guidance on what may constitute, for example, reasonable estimates of energy demand for typical buildings.

Policy S6: Design Principles for Efficient Buildings

When formulating development proposals, the following design principles should be used and in the following order:

  1. Heat supply – net zero carbon content of heat supply (for example, this means no connection to the gas network or use of oil or bottled gas);
  2. Form of buildings – creating buildings that are more efficient to heat and stay warm in colder conditions and stay cool in warmer conditions because of their shape and design;
  3. Orientation of buildings – such as positioning buildings to maximise opportunities for solar gain, and minimise winter cold wind heat loss;
  4. Fabric of buildings – using materials and building techniques that reduce heat and energy needs. Ideally, this could also consider using materials with a lower embodied carbon content and/or high practical recyclable content;
  5. Renewable energy generated – generating enough energy from renewable sources on-site (and preferably on plot) to meet reasonable estimates of all regulated and unregulated total annual energy demand across the year.

Energy statements, as required by Policies S7 and S8, must set out the approach to meeting each of the above principles.

Reducing Energy Consumption - Residential Development

3.2.5 It is clear that in order to achieve a zero-carbon Central Lincolnshire, reducing energy consumption from future development must be prioritised and this is an area where the Local Plan can have significant impact. Evidence we commissioned has shown that existing buildings currently account for 43% of greenhouse gas emissions in Central Lincolnshire and without dramatically reducing the energy requirements of new development it will be impossible to reduce Central Lincolnshire’s carbon budget within the timeframes required.

3.2.6 New development needs to be built with ‘ultra-low’ levels of forecast energy use and for residential development this means setting stringent standards for space heating demands, energy use intensity and installation of renewable energy technology such as solar photovoltaics (PV).

3.2.7 Government is committed to improving the energy efficiency of new homes through the Building Regulations system, under what it is describing as the Future Homes Standard (FHS). The introduction of the FHS will ensure, it is proposed, that an average home will produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions than one built to current (early 2021) energy efficiency requirements. Homes built under the FHS will be ‘zero carbon ready’, which means that in the longer term, no further retrofit work for energy efficiency will be necessary to enable them to become zero-carbon homes as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise. However, the FHS is only proposed to take effect from 2025 (with an uplift in Building Regulations as a step towards FHS proposed for 2022), and there is no legal guarantee of even that date being met. In Central Lincolnshire, we want to go further, and faster, and have prepared the evidence (available on our website) to demonstrate both why that is necessary and how it is achievable.

3.2.8 Policy S7 sets out how residential development in Central Lincolnshire will meet the above challenge. It includes a requirement for an ‘energy statement’, and also sets certain standards of performance. By the point of adopting this Local Plan, or very shortly thereafter, the local planning authorities in the area will publish a series of guidance notes and templates so that meeting the requirements of the policy can be demonstrated efficiently, effectively and consistently (and we are considering whether to make the use of such templates compulsory).  We will also publish arrangements for monitoring compliance of permissions granted, so that everyone can have confidence that new homes and other buildings are built to the standards granted consent.

Policy S7: Reducing Energy Consumption – Residential Development

Unless covered by an exceptional basis clause below, all new residential development proposals must include an Energy Statement which confirms in addition to the requirements of Policy S6 that all such residential units:

  1. Can generate at least the same amount of renewable electricity on-site (and preferably on-plot) as the electricity they demand over the course of a year, such demand including all energy use (regulated and unregulated), calculated using a methodology proven to accurately predict a building’s actual energy performance; and
  2. To help achieve point 1 above, target achieving a space heating demand of around 15-20kWh/m2/yr and a total energy demand of 35 kWh/m2/yr, achieved through a ‘fabric first’ approach to construction. No unit to have a total energy demand in excess of 60 kWh/m2/yr, irrespective of amount of on-site renewable energy production. (For the avoidance of doubt, ‘total energy demand’ means the amount of energy used as measured by the metering of that home, with no deduction for renewable energy generated on site).

The Energy Statement must include details of assured performance arrangements.  As a minimum, this will require:

  1. The submission of ‘pre-built’ estimates of energy performance; and
  2. Prior to each dwelling being occupied, the submission of updated, accurate and verified ‘as built’ calculations of energy performance. Such a submission should also be provided to the first occupier (including a Non-Technical Summary of such estimates).

Weight will be given to proposals which demonstrate a deliverable commitment to on-going monitoring of energy consumption, post-occupation, which has the effect, when applicable, of notifying the occupier that their energy use appears to significantly exceed the expected performance of the building, and explaining to the occupier steps they could take to identify the potential causes of such high energy use.

Exceptional Basis Clauses:

Below are three clauses which may allow certain developments to not meet in full the policy requirements above, though in all cases the energy performance arrangements of points a) and b) are still required.

Clause 1 (technical or policy reasons):

Where, on an exceptional basis, points 1-2 cannot be met for technical (e.g. overshadowing) or other policy reasons (e.g. heritage), then the Energy Statement must demonstrate both why they cannot be met, and the degree to which each of points 1-2 are proposed to be met. A lack of financial viability will not be deemed either a technical or policy reason to trigger this exceptional basis clause.

Where Clause 1 is utilised, and where the proposal is of 10 units or more (or, for development proposals of less than 10 units but more than a combined total of 1,000sq m or more, as measured by CIL regulations if such regulations remain in force), then the applicant must either:

  1. enter into an appropriate legal agreement which will either provide renewable energy infrastructure offsite equivalent to at least offsetting the additional energy requirements not achieved on site; or,
  2. enter into an appropriate legal agreement to provide a financial contribution to the applicable LPA of a value sufficient to enable that LPA to offset (via off site renewable energy infrastructure or other offsite infrastructure to deliver a reasonable carbon saving) the remaining performance not achieved on site (with this being a minimum contribution of £5k and a maximum of £15k per dwelling unit); or
  3. demonstrate that the residential units will be connected to a decentralised energy network or combined heat and power unit, in accordance with policy S9 below.

Clause 2 (accreditation scheme):

To simplify (and hence speed up) the decision-making process, applicants are able to demonstrate that they have met the requirements of points 1-2 of this policy if they provide certified demonstration of compliance with:

-        Passivhaus Plus, Premium or Classic; or

-        Any other recognised national independent accreditation scheme, provided such scheme is demonstrated to be consistent with the requirements of this policy.

Clause 3 (viability):

In Value Zones C and D as indicated on Map 3[2] (see chapter 4 of this Local Plan), which essentially is Sleaford and Gainsborough and immediate surrounding land only, it is acknowledged that the full delivery of requirements 1 and 2 in this policy may not be possible in some cases for viability reasons. Consequently, in such areas, the applicable local planning authority will continue to require an Energy Statement to be submitted, and, if full delivery of requirements 1 and 2 are not proposed to be met, such a Statement must set out the degree to which points 1 and 2 are proposed to be met in order to enable the development to become viable.

2. Please note: the extent of the viability zones can be seen in detail on the Interactive Local Plan Policies Map on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan website. [back]

Reducing Energy Consumption – Non-Residential Buildings

3.2.9 New non-residential development must also be built and designed to minimise energy consumption for the same reasons and in a similar vein to residential buildings.

3.2.10 Government is proposing, via the Building Regulations, very similar measures for non-domestic buildings as it is for domestic, under the working title of Future Buildings Standard (FBS), albeit FBS is slightly behind FHS in terms of consultation and drafting of such standards. According to Government (Jan 2021), “the Future Buildings Standard will deliver highly efficient non-domestic buildings which use low-carbon heat, ensuring they are better for the environment and fit for the future”. Like FHS, it is proposed that the FBS will be in place and operating by 2025.

3.2.11 Also similar to FHS, the FBS programme believes “that providing the best fabric standards possible should be essential to buildings constructed to the Future Buildings Standard”. However, Government notes that “the relationship between building fabric and energy demand in non-domestic buildings is complicated, and often a balance needs to be struck between heating, cooling demands, and daylight provision. In some circumstances, providing extremely high levels of insulation can increase overall building energy use, and it is important that we encourage designers to seek the right specifications.”

3.2.12 Like FHS, we support the principles behind FBS but we want non-domestic buildings to be built to higher standards further and faster than proposed by Government.

3.2.13 Nevertheless, the policy below does build in two exception clauses, one of which relates to achieving a certain level of BREEAM. BREEAM assesses much wider issues than just energy use, such as water, waste, health and wellbeing and building materials. Each category is sub-divided into a range of assessment issues, each with its own aim, target and benchmarks. When a target or benchmark is reached, as determined by the BREEAM assessor, the development or asset score points, called credits. The category score is then calculated according to the number of credits achieved and its category weighting. Once the development has been fully assessed, the final performance rating is determined by the sum of the weighted category scores. As such, a building may not score highly on energy use, but score very highly on other matters and still consequently achieve an excellent or outstanding rating. Whilst this may mean a building which makes use of the BREEAM related exception clause below is not entirely compatible with the ‘net zero’ ambitions of this Local Plan, the wider environmental and carbon-related benefits of achieving an excellent or outstanding BREEAM rating is considered appropriate as an exception to meeting the main part of the Policy below.

Policy S8: Reducing Energy Consumption – Non-Residential Buildings

All new non-residential development proposals must include an Energy Statement which confirms that all such non-residential units:

  1. Can generate at least the same amount of renewable electricity on-site (and preferably on-plot) as they demand over the course of a year, such demand including all energy use (regulated and unregulated), calculated using a methodology proven to accurately predict a building’s actual energy performance; and
  2. To help achieve point 1 above, target achieving a space heating demand of around 15-20kWh/m2/yr and a total energy demand of 70 kWh/m2/yr. No unit to have a total energy demand in excess of 90 kWh/m2/yr, irrespective of amount of on-site renewable energy production. (For the avoidance of doubt, ‘total energy demand’ means the amount of energy used as measured by the metering of that building, with no deduction for renewable energy generated on site).

The Energy Statement must include details of assured performance arrangements.  As a minimum, this will require:

  1. The submission of ‘pre-built’ estimates of energy performance; and
  2. Prior to each building being occupied, the submission of updated, accurate and verified ‘as built’ calculations of energy performance. Such a submission should also be provided to the first occupier (including a Non-Technical Summary of such estimates);

Weight will be given to proposals which demonstrate a deliverable commitment to on-going monitoring of energy consumption, post occupation, which has the effect, when applicable, of notifying the occupier that their energy use appears to exceed significantly the expected performance of the building, and explaining to the occupier steps they could take to identify the potential causes of such high energy use.

Exceptional Basis Clauses:

Below are set out two potential clauses allowing certain developments to not meet in full the policy requirements above, though in all cases the energy performance arrangements of points a) and b) are still required.

Clause 1 (technical or policy reasons):

Where, on an exceptional basis, points 1-2 cannot be met for technical (e.g. overshadowing) or other policy reasons (e.g. heritage) or other technical reason linked to the unique purpose of the building (e.g. a building that is, by the nature of its operation, an abnormally high user of energy), then the Energy Statement must demonstrate both why they cannot be met, and the degree to which each of points 1-2 are proposed to be met.

Where this exceptional basis clause is utilised, and where it involved the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more, then the applicant must either:

  1. enter into an appropriate legal agreement which will either provide renewable energy infrastructure offsite equivalent to at least offsetting the additional energy requirements not achieved on site; or,
  2. enter into an appropriate legal agreement to provide a financial contribution to the applicable LPA of a value sufficient to enable that LPA to offset (via off site renewable energy infrastructure or other offsite infrastructure to deliver a reasonable carbon saving) the remaining performance not achieved on site (with this being a minimum contribution of £5k and a maximum of £100k per 1,000 square metres); or
  3. demonstrate that the building/s will be connected to a decentralised energy network or combined heat and power unit, in accordance with Policy S9 below.

Clause 2 (use of an accredited certification scheme):

To simply (and hence speed up) the decision-making process, applicants are able to demonstrate, as an alternative to policy requirements 1-2, that the proposal has compliance with BREEAM Outstanding or Excellent.

Reducing Energy Consumption – Decentralised Energy Networks and Combined Heat and Power

3.2.14 Decentralised energy is energy produced locally and close to where it will be used. This compares with, for example, electricity which is generated in a large power station and then sent through the national grid, typically wasting 8-15% of power value in doing so. Local energy networks can be established to distribute energy (and heat) to buildings more efficiently for heating and domestic hot water. Many decentralised energy systems and networks are powered by renewable or low carbon energy sources which will help minimise carbon emissions as well having the advantage, potentially, of being more reliable and less vulnerable than centralised systems.

3.2.15 Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is where both electricity and heat (or cooling) is generated from a single source of energy and is located locally to where the electricity and heat is consumed. CHP generation is also more efficient than traditional energy generation operating at around 65%-75% efficiency compared 50%.

3.2.16 Some decentralised energy networks rely on fossil fuels (e.g. gas) and therefore, whilst often more efficient than a centralised fossil fuel system, are still net carbon emitters.

3.2.17 In October 2021, the Government consulted on proposals for heat network zoning.[3] The consultation set out proposals for how heat network zoning could operate. Central Government envisage central and local government working together with industry and local stakeholders, to identify and designate areas within which heat networks are the lowest cost solution for decarbonising heating. It is envisaged that this will help heat network developers to accelerate deployment of heat networks where they are most appropriate and help heat networks increase their contribution towards meeting net zero commitments.

3.2.18 In that consultation the Government proposes that in a heat network zone all new buildings, large public sector and large non-domestic buildings – as well as larger domestic premises which are currently communally heated – would be required to connect to a heat network within a prescribed timeframe. Exemptions could be sought where it would not be cost-effective to connect, compared to an alternative low carbon solution. The consultation document expressed the intention to also introduce a low carbon requirement to ensure that new heat networks built within heat network zones are compatible with net zero commitments. The Government’s response to the consultation is expected in early 2022. Depending on what that response is, and whether it is legislated for, may impact on how the following policy is implemented.

3. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposals-for-heat-network-zoning [back]
Policy S9: Decentralised Energy Networks and Combined Heat and Power

Where an existing decentralised energy network exists in the locality, and such a network is likely operational in the long term (i.e. minimum 30 years), then development proposals in the vicinity can consider connection to such an existing energy network provided that in doing so it does not require the network as a whole to increase its fossil fuel consumption (i.e. it should be demonstrated that the network either has spare and wasted capacity, or demonstrate that the energy in the decentralised network is sourced from renewable sources).

Any proposal for a new or extended combined heat and power network will only be supported if the power source of such a network is non-fossil fuel based.

Reducing Energy Consumption – Circular Economy

3.2.19 A circular economy is an alternative economic model which focuses on waste minimisation and product reuse: it is a direct challenge to the current linear “make, use and dispose” model of consumption.[4] 

3.2.20 A circular economy is about maximising the use of materials and resources through recycling, reusing, repairing and sharing as much as possible.  The ultimate aim of this is to reduce the production, consumption and disposal of materials and resources, thereby reducing energy use and carbon consumption. Circular economies can therefore help to preserve resources and reduce the damaging environmental impacts that result from production, consumption and waste disposal.

3.2.21 A circular economy can also be positive for the local economy, as it can create jobs in a local area to serve the circular economy, rather than support a consumption economy which relies on imports from outside the area (including international imports).

3.2.22 A circular economy is based on three fundamental principles:

  1. Designing out waste and pollution;
  2. Keeping products and materials in use; and
  3. Regenerating natural systems.

The first principle requires businesses and organisations to rethink their supply chain and identify ways that they can avoid creating waste and pollution through their operations. The second principle centres around maximising the recycling, reusing, refurbishing, repairing, sharing and leasing of resources. The third principle requires businesses and organisations to consider how they can not only protect the natural environment, but improve it.  The circular economy principles can be applied at all scales- globally, locally, individual business level.

Policy S9 aims to support development proposals which will contribute to the delivery of circular economy principles. Examples of such proposals include:

  • Proposals which have been designed to reduce material demands and enable building materials, components and products to be disassembled and re-used at the end of their useful life;
  • Proposals which incorporate sustainable waste management onsite;
  • Proposals which make specific provision for the storage and collection of materials for recycling and/ or re-use; and
  • Proposals for the colocation of two or more businesses/ services for the purpose of sharing resources or maximising use of waste products.
4. https://wrap.org.uk/about-us/our-vision/wrap-and-circular-economy [back]
Policy S10: Supporting a Circular Economy

The Joint Committee is aware of the high energy and material use consumed on a daily basis, and, consequently, is fully supportive of the principles of a circular economy.

Accordingly, and to complement any policies set out in the Minerals and Waste Development Plan, proposals will be supported, in principle, which demonstrate their compatibility with, or the furthering of, a strong circular economy in the local area (which could include cross-border activity elsewhere in Lincolnshire).

Reducing Energy Consumption – Embodied Carbon

3.2.23 A significant proportion of a building’s lifetime carbon is locked into its fabric and systems. Embodied carbon means all the carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) emitted in producing materials so in the case of buildings means all the emissions from the sourcing and construction of building materials, the construction of the building itself, all the fixtures and fittings inside and, arguably, the deconstruction and disposal at the end of a building's lifetime. Embodied carbon figures have been calculated for different dwelling types across Central Lincolnshire with the average embodied carbon figure of 45 tonnes of CO2 per dwelling. Put another way, a brand-new home has already emitted 45 tonnes of CO2 before it has been occupied. That’s about the same as a typical petrol or diesel car emits over 10 years of average use. Addressing the embodied carbon can provide cost-effective potential for carbon savings and cost savings over and above those traditionally targeted through operational savings. Much of the low-hanging fruit of embodied carbon abatement is yet to be taken advantage of. It therefore provides a significant opportunity to reduce the carbon impact of the business and increase organisational carbon savings.

3.2.24 Reduction in embodied carbon is also not subject to ongoing building user behaviour in the way that operational carbon savings are. As a result, embodied carbon benefits can be more accurate and identifiable than predicted operational carbon reductions, particularly when the final occupant of the building is not known at the time.

3.2.25 Embodied carbon savings made during the design and construction stage are also delivered today. This contrasts with operational emissions savings which are delivered over time in the future. Indeed, a Kg of CO2 saved over the next 5 years has a greater environmental value than a kg saved in say 10 or more years’ time.

3.2.26 Embodied carbon assessment can also contribute to other sustainability targets and priorities beside carbon. For example, use of recycled content, recyclability of building materials, and reduced waste materials to landfill can all result from a focus on reducing embodied carbon and also contribute to waste reduction targets. Similarly, benefits to the local community can accrue from reduced on-site energy generation and cleaner fabrication processes which mitigate the impact of the development site on the local area; the use of more local sourcing and local supply chains can also support jobs and the economy in the local area (or if not local, at regional or national level).

3.2.27 This Local Plan supports measures to reduce embodied carbon through encouraging developers to demonstrate how developments over a specified floor area have reduced embodied carbon.

Policy S11: Embodied Carbon

All development should, where practical and viable, take opportunities to reduce the development’s embodied carbon content, through the careful choice, use and sourcing of materials.

Presumption against demolition:

To avoid the wastage of embodied carbon in existing buildings and avoid the creation of new embodied carbon in replacement buildings, there is a presumption in favour of repairing, refurbishing, re-using and re-purposing existing buildings over their demolition.  Proposals that result in the demolition of a building (in whole or a significant part) should be accompanied by a full justification for the demolition.  For non-listed buildings demolition will only be acceptable where it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that:

  1. repairing, refurbishing, re-using, or re-purposing the building would create a building with such poor thermal efficiency that on a whole life cycle basis (i.e. embodied carbon and in-use carbon emissions) would mean a lower net carbon solution would arise from demolition and re-build; or
  2. the building proposed for demolition is in a state of such disrepair that it is not practical or viable to be repaired, refurbished, re-used, or re-purposed; or 
  3. repairing, refurbishing, re-using, or re-purposing the building would likely result in similar or higher newly generated embodied carbon than if the building is demolished and a new building is constructed; or
  4. demolition of the building and construction of a new building would, on an exceptional basis, deliver other significant public benefits that outweigh the carbon savings which would arise from the building being repaired, refurbished, re-used, or re-purposed.

Applications within the countryside relating to the re-use or conversion of existing buildings will only be acceptable where they also meet the requirements of Policy S5, S34, or S43 as applicable.

Major development proposals:

All major development proposals should explicitly set out what opportunities to lower a building’s embodied carbon content have been considered, and which opportunities, if any, are to be taken forward.

In the period to 31 December 2024, there will be no requirement (unless mandated by Government) to use any specific lower embodied carbon materials in development proposals, provided the applicant has at least demonstrated consideration of options and opportunities available.

From 1 January 2025, there will be a requirement for a development proposal to demonstrate how the design and building materials to be used have been informed by a consideration of embodied carbon, and that reasonable opportunities to minimise embodied carbon have been taken. Further guidance is anticipated to be issued by the local planning authorities on this matter prior to 1 January 2025.

Reducing Energy Consumption – Water Efficiency

3.2.28 The supply and disposal of water has a significant carbon impact. Whilst the bulk (90%) of water-related carbon emissions come from the heating of water, the process of treating and pumping water to homes also has an impact (10%). Reducing water use (supply and disposal) therefore can have a significant carbon impact, even more so if that water is heated. Even small measures, such as a water butt, can make a difference – each time a 100l water butt is filled with rainwater, and used to water garden plants instead of using mains water, it saves 79g/CO2 (Source: Water UK, which estimates the carbon footprint of 1 litre of domestic water is 0.79g/CO2/l). That’s a carbon saving on top of the wider water environment benefits of using rainwater rather than mains treated tap water.

3.2.29 Through the Building Regulations all developments are required to achieve a mandatory standard of 125 litres per person per day. The optional technical standards for housing allows local authorities to apply a more stringent standard of 110 litres per person per day where there is a clear local need.  Central Lincolnshire is identified as being within an area of serious water stress[5] and so this optional standard is required in this plan.

3.2.30 One, arguably extreme, measure could be through new buildings using rainwater for wider use than garden use (such as for toilet flushing). However, some evidence suggests this may actually not be the most sustainable option, due to the on-site treatment and storage requirements, and may have a higher carbon footprint than the use of mains water. This Plan remains neutral on this point and does not, therefore, promote or require such measures.

5. Water Stressed Areas – 2021 Final Classification - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-stressed-areas-2021-classification [back]
Policy S12: Water Efficiency and Sustainable Water Management

Water efficiency

To minimise impact on the water environment all new dwellings should achieve the Optional

Technical Housing Standard of 110 litres per day per person for water efficiency as described by Building Regulation G2. Proposals which go further than this (to, for example, 85 litres per day per person) would be particularly supported.

Water management

In addition to the wider flood and water related policy requirements (Policy S21), all residential development or other development comprising new buildings:

  • with any flat-roofed area, should be a green roof (for biodiversity, flood risk and water network benefits), unless such roof space is being utilised for photovoltaic or thermal solar panels; and
  • with outside hard surfacing, must ensure such surfacing is permeable (unless there are technical and unavoidable reasons for not doing so in certain areas) thereby reducing energy demand on the water recycling network;
  • which is residential and which includes a garden area, must include a rain harvesting water butt(s) of minimum 100l capacity.

Reducing Energy Consumption – Existing Development

3.2.31 Whilst there is significant new development planned for Central Lincolnshire, the vast majority of buildings that will be occupied over the coming decades will be those built in earlier times when energy and performance standards were much lower than at present.

3.2.32 An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides details of the energy performance of a property and is required for properties when constructed, sold or let.

3.2.33 The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations require all applicable properties to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of E or better. Separately, the Clean Growth Strategy (2017) has set a target for as many buildings as possible to achieve an EPC of C by 2030/35 and commits to keep energy efficiency standards under review.

3.2.34 Also of value, and supported by the Joint Committee, is PAS 2035:2019 Retrofitting Dwellings for Improved Energy Efficiency: Specifications and Guidance. Targeted at existing homes (rather than new development, or home extensions) it is a key document in a framework of new and existing standards on how to conduct effective energy retrofits of existing buildings. It covers how to assess dwellings for retrofit, identify improvement options, design and specify Energy Efficiency Measures (EEM) and monitor retrofit projects.

3.2.35 The standard drives the 'whole house approach' including the 'fabric first' methodology. It defines the qualifications and responsibilities of individual retrofit roles and respective activities required prior and post EEM installation. TrustMark Registered Businesses carrying out work within its scope are required to be compliant with its requirements, so if you are planning to have work done on your home, you may wish to ask about PAS 2035 and whether the builder is a TrustMark registered business.

3.2.36 Further details available here: trustmark.org.uk/ourservices/pas-2035/

3.2.37 In the context of all of the above, the following policy aims to assist in improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings, complementing the wider policies of this Plan which are primarily aimed at new buildings.

Policy S13: Reducing Energy Consumption in Existing Buildings

For all development proposals which involve the change of use or redevelopment of a building, or an extension to an existing building, the applicant is encouraged to consider all opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of that building (including the original building, if it is being extended)*.

Proposals which do consider and take such viable opportunities will, in principle and subject to other material considerations, be supported.  In particular, residential properties which, following an extension or conversion, will achieve an improved EPC rating overall will, in principle, be supported. To gain this in principle support, a pre-development EPC should be provided as part of the application, together with evidence as to how a completed development EPC is likely to be rated.

More generally, for any work on a residential property, the use of the PAS 2035:2019 Specifications and Guidance (or any superseding guidance) is encouraged.

*Note: for any heritage asset, any improvements to the energy efficiency of that asset must not cause harm to, or loss of, the significance of the asset. This may limit any feasible energy efficiency improvements.

3.3 Theme 2 - Increase Renewable Energy Generation

3.3.1 The second section of this chapter focusses on what the Local Plan can do to facilitate an increase in renewable energy generated in Central Lincolnshire, as part of a transition towards a net-zero carbon future. It does this by proactively encouraging investment in renewable energy infrastructure, encouraging and supporting the delivery of wider transformation infrastructure (such as energy storage), and requiring certain infrastructure as part of new development where there is reasonable certainty that a net-zero carbon society would depend on such infrastructure.

Generating Renewable Energy

3.3.2 The generation and use of renewable energy reduces demand for fossil fuels, thus reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy technologies include:

  • Photovoltaic solar panels- for electricity generation
  • Thermal solar panels- for heating
  • Wind turbines- for electricity generation
  • Ground source heat pumps – for heating
  • Air source heat pumps – for heating

3.3.3 Not only does the use of renewable energy reduce carbon emissions, and thus help address climate change, but it also has many other benefits too, namely:

  • It is sustainable- renewable energy will not run out, unlike fossil fuels which are finite;
  • The renewable energy sector creates jobs in the short and long term, for example, project planning, installation, operation and maintenance;
  • Onshore wind offers the most cost-effective choice for electricity in the UK and these cost savings can be passed onto the consumer;
  • Onshore wind technology is getting more efficient whilst maintaining the same footprint, and land between wind turbines can be used for other productive purposes, such as food production.

3.3.4 In Central Lincolnshire, whilst not set as either a cap or a ceiling, the aim of the Joint Committee that prepared this Plan is to facilitate the delivery of approximately:

  • Wind: 150MW capacity (compared with 0 MW currently installed), which equates to 75 x 2MW turbines, which would itself require something like 200-300 acres of land (that’s approximately 150 football pitches). Of course, much of that 200-300 acres can still be used for other farming uses – the physical land take of the turbines would be very small indeed. In terms of height, a typical 2MW turbine is perhaps 90-100m tall to the hub, whereas the tip of the blade to the ground is perhaps 125-150m in height.
  • Solar PV: 230MW capacity (compared with 149MW currently installed), which equates to approximately 1,000 acres of land requirement. That’s approximately 650 football pitches. This land take might be less (but not eliminated), if large scale roof deployment was achieved to help deliver this capacity target.

3.3.5 For context, Central Lincolnshire occupies 525,000 acres of land, so the above combined land take (1,300 acres) equates to around 1/400th (0.25%) of the Central Lincolnshire area.

Wind Energy

3.3.6 In June 2015 Government issued a Written Statement[6] on wind energy development, stating that, when determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if:

  • the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a local or neighbourhood plan; and
  • following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.

3.3.7 This position is transcribed in national policy (NPPF (2021) footnote 54).

3.3.8 As mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, this Local Plan must be radical, and do more than merely ‘encourage’ action against climate change.  As applications for wind turbines can (in accordance with the above national policy) only be approved if they are in a location identified as suitable for wind energy development, this Local Plan therefore identifies potentially suitable areas for wind turbine development. The alternative (i.e. not identifying any potentially suitable areas) would mean that wind turbine applications in Central Lincolnshire could only be approved if an area was identified in a neighbourhood plan: this could result in no or very limited wind turbine development, which would not be in line with Central Lincolnshire's ambition to facilitate a net zero carbon future and would be a barrier to this Local Plan making a legally required meaningful contribution to addressing the climate change crisis. Not identifying potentially suitable areas for wind turbine development would also make the goal of net zero carbon, whether by 2050 (UK legal requirement) or earlier (stated ambition of many authorities) harder to achieve, and result in greater pressure to adopt more revolutionary measures elsewhere. In principle, therefore, this Local Plan supports and helps facilitate the delivery of wind turbines.

3.3.9 Policy S14 below differentiates between small to medium scale turbines and medium to large turbines. This Local Plan establishes that the whole of the Central Lincolnshire area is potentially suitable for small to medium wind turbine development, while only the limited area shown indicatively on Map 2 (and defined on the Policies Map) is potentially suitable for the development of medium to large scale turbines.

3.3.10 Full details of the approach used to identify areas potentially suitable for medium to large wind turbine development are set out in a separate evidence document available on our website, but the following paragraphs provide a summary of our approach:

3.3.11 Considering wind opportunity – For wind turbines to be effective, there must be wind to power them. The East Midlands Low Carbon Energy Study (2011) highlighted that wind speeds in Central Lincolnshire are generally feasible for large-scale wind development and that wind speeds across Central Lincolnshire are consistently above 5.5m/s (the general threshold for economic viability). It is not considered that any material changes will have occurred since 2011 to impact this position, so it is maintained that, in principle, the opportunity for wind turbine development remains across the whole Central Lincolnshire area.

3.3.12 Mapping of principal constraints – The next step is identifying and mapping strategic level constraints to broadly identify the areas potentially suitable for wind turbine development. These constraints have been identified as:

  • All settlements identified in the Settlement Hierarchy (plus 2km buffer)
  • Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Areas of Great Landscape Value
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest; Special Protection Areas; Special Areas of Conservation; Ramsars; National Nature Reserves; Local Wildlife Sites; Ancient Woodland
  • Protected Battlefields; Scheduled Monuments; Historic Parks and Gardens; Conservation Areas
  • 5km exclusion zone around airports and airfields, namely: Humberside; RAF Waddington; RAF Coningsby; Kirton Lindsey airfield; Sturgate airfield; Wickenby Aerodrome

3.3.13 For most of the constraints identified above, no additional ‘buffer zone’ around them has been included. To do so was deemed inappropriate, as the required distance between a wind turbine and a constraint may vary significantly depending on the specifics of the site and nature of the proposal: as such, proximity to the identified principal constraints will be a matter for detailed consideration at the time of application.

3.3.14 Map of areas potentially suitable for wind turbine development – When all of the principal constraints are combined the result provides a number of areas which are not constrained by a ‘principal constraint’ and therefore potentially suitable in principle for medium-large scale wind turbines as shown on the indicative Map 2 below, and set out in detail on the Policies Map. All areas coloured purple are potentially suitable for medium-large wind turbine development.

3.3.15 Detailed assessment of applications It is important to stress that the areas on Map 2 and the Policies Map are only ‘potentially suitable’ for medium-large scale wind turbines: being within these locations does not mean that an application for a wind turbine or turbines would automatically be approved. It is not possible to easily and comprehensively map qualitative considerations, so such matters are considered at the point of application: all applications for wind turbines will be assessed against the detailed policy criteria set out in Policy S14 below, and all other relevant policies in this Local Plan, as well as policies in any relevant Neighbourhood Plan.

3.3.16 In addition, applicants will also have to demonstrate that any planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed, in order to satisfy national policy[7].

Map 2: Map of area suitable in principle, subject to detailed assessment, for the development of medium to large wind turbines. Areas marked in purple are potentially suitable for medium to large wind turbines.  Smaller turbines are, in principle (and subject to detailed assessment), supported throughout Central Lincolnshire.

Wind turbine areas 08 02 2022

6. https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/commons-vote-office/June-2015/18-June/1-DCLG-Planning.pdf [back]
7. See NPPF (2021) paragraph 158 and footnote 54. [back]
Policy S14: Renewable Energy

The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee is committed to supporting the transition to a net zero carbon future and will seek to maximise appropriately located renewable energy generated in Central Lincolnshire (such energy likely being wind and solar based).

Proposals for renewable energy schemes, including ancillary development, will be supported where the direct, indirect, individual and cumulative impacts on the following considerations are, or will be made, acceptable. To determine whether it is acceptable, the following tests will have to be met:

  1. The impacts are acceptable having considered the scale, siting and design, and the consequent impacts on landscape character; visual amenity; biodiversity; geodiversity; flood risk; townscape; heritage assets and their settings; and highway safety; and
  2. The impacts are acceptable on aviation and defence navigation system/communications; and
  3. The impacts are acceptable on the amenity of sensitive neighbouring uses (including local residents) by virtue of matters such as noise, dust, odour, shadow flicker, air quality and traffic;

Testing compliance with part (i) above will be via applicable policies elsewhere in a development plan document for the area (i.e. this Local Plan; a Neighbourhood Plan, if one exists; any applicable policies in a Minerals or Waste Local Plan); and any further guidance set out in a Supplementary Planning Document.

In order to test compliance with part (ii) above will require, for relevant proposals, the submission by the applicant of robust evidence of the potential impact on any aviation and defence navigation system/communication, and within such evidence must be documented areas of agreement or disagreement reached with appropriate bodies and organisations responsible for such infrastructure.

In order to test compliance with part (iii) above will require, for relevant proposals, the submission by the applicant of a robust assessment of the potential impact on such users, and the mitigation measures proposed to minimise any identified harm.

For all matters in (i)-(iii), the applicable local planning authority may commission its own independent assessment of the proposals, to ensure it is satisfied what the degree of harm may be and whether reasonable mitigation opportunities are being taken.  

Where significant adverse effects are concluded by the local planning authority following consideration of the above assessment(s), such effects will be weighed against the wider environmental, economic, social and community benefits provided by the proposal. In this regard, and as part of the planning balance, significant additional weight in favour of the proposal will arise for any proposal which is community-led for the benefit of that community.

In areas that have been designated for their national importance, as identified in the National Planning Policy Framework, renewable energy infrastructure will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that it would be appropriate in scale, located in areas that do not contribute positively to the objectives of the designation, is sympathetically designed and includes any necessary mitigation measures.

Additional matters for solar based energy proposals

Proposals for solar thermal or photovoltaics panels and associated infrastructure to be installed on existing property will be under a presumption in favour of permission unless there is clear and demonstrable significant harm arising.

Proposals for ground based photovoltaics and associated infrastructure, including commercial large scale proposals, will be under a presumption in favour unless:

  • the proposal is (following a site specific soil assessment) to take place on Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land, unless such land is peat based and the proposal is part of a wider scheme to protect or enhance the carbon sink of such land; or
  • there is clear and demonstrable significant harm arising; or
  • the land is allocated for another purpose in this Local Plan or other statutory based document (such as a nature recovery strategy or a Local Transport Plan), and the proposal is not compatible with such other allocation.

Proposals for ground based photovoltaics should be accompanied by evidence demonstrating how opportunities for delivering biodiversity net gain will be maximised in the scheme taking account of soil, natural features, existing habitats, and planting proposals accompanying the scheme to create new habitats linking into the nature recovery strategy.

Additional matters for wind based energy proposals

Proposals for a small to medium single wind turbine, which is defined as a turbine up to a maximum of 40m from ground to tip of blade, are, in principle, supported throughout Central Lincolnshire (i.e. the whole of Central Lincolnshire is identified as a broad area potentially suitable for a such a single turbine), subject to meeting the above criteria (i)-(iii). Under this paragraph, no dwelling or other operation (e.g. a farm or a business) may have more than one turbine at any one time in the curtilage of that dwelling or other operation.

Proposals for medium (over 40m from ground to tip of blade) to large scale wind turbines (including groups of turbines) will, in principle, be supported only where they are located within an area identified as a ‘Broad Area Suitable for Larger Scale Wind Energy Turbines’ as identified on the Policies Map and (indicatively) on Map 2. Such proposals will be tested against criteria (i)-(iii); National Planning Policy; and whether, following appropriate consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing (it being a planning judgement by the local planning authority as to whether or not the proposal has their backing).

Medium to large scale wind turbines must not be within 2km of a settlement boundary of a settlement identified in the Settlement Hierarchy. However, where a proposal is within 2km of any residential property, the following matters will need careful consideration as to the potential harm arising:

  • Overbearing nature of the turbines (established by visual effects from within commonly used habitable rooms)
  • Noise
  • Flicker
  • Any other amenity which is presently enjoyed by the occupier.

In this regard, no medium to large scale wind turbine within 700m of a residential property is anticipated to be supported, and proposals between 700-2,000m will need clear evidence of no significant harm arising.  

For the avoidance of doubt, any medium to large scale wind turbine proposals outside of the identified Broad Area Suitable for Larger Scale Wind Energy Turbines should be refused.

Decommissioning renewable energy infrastructure

Permitted proposals will be subject to a condition that will require the submission of an End of Life Removal Scheme within one year of the facility becoming non-operational, and the implementation of such a scheme within one year of the scheme being approved. Such a scheme should demonstrate how any biodiversity net gain that has arisen on the site will be protected or enhanced further, and how the materials to be removed would, to a practical degree, be re-used or recycled.

Protecting Renewable Energy Infrastructure 

3.3.17 In addition to supporting the development of new renewable and low carbon energy schemes and installations, it is also important to protect existing schemes and installations, to ensure that their benefits to the environment and users (e.g., reduced heating bills) continue. Policy S15 therefore aims to safeguard such instalments.

Policy S15: Protecting Renewable Energy Infrastructure

Development should not significantly harm:

  1. the technical performance of any existing or approved renewable energy generation facility;
  2. the potential for optimisation of strategic renewable energy installations;
  3. the availability of the resource, where the operation is dependent on uninterrupted flow of energy to the installation. 

Wider Energy Infrastructure

3.3.18 In order to support a move to a zero carbon Central Lincolnshire there is a need to move away from fossil fuels (gas, petrol, diesel, oil) towards low carbon alternatives and this transition needs to take place with increasing momentum in order to stay within identified carbon saving targets. The key implication of the move towards low carbon energy will be the increasing demand for electricity – demand for electrical energy is forecast to increase by 165% in Central Lincolnshire over the next 30 years. As a result, the infrastructure around energy, and in particular electrical infrastructure, will need to adapt and change to accommodate the increased need for the management and storage of electricity. Energy storage including battery storage, consideration of existing and new electricity sub-stations and energy strategies for large developments are required to help support the future energy infrastructure needs for Central Lincolnshire.

Policy S16: Wider Energy Infrastructure

The Joint Committee is committed to supporting the transition to net zero carbon future and, in doing so, recognises and supports, in principle, the need for significant investment in new and upgraded energy infrastructure.

Where planning permission is needed from a Central Lincolnshire authority, support will be given to proposals which are necessary for, or form part of, the transition to a net zero carbon sub-region, which could include: energy storage facilities (such as battery storage or thermal storage); and upgraded or new electricity facilities (such as transmission facilities, sub-stations or other electricity infrastructure.

However, any such proposals should take all reasonable opportunities to mitigate any harm arising from such proposals, and take care to select not only appropriate locations for such facilities, but also design solutions (see Policy S53) which minimises harm arising.

3.4 Theme 3 - Carbon Sinks

3.4.1 Peat and peat soil are increasingly being recognised as major carbon storage resources and when these are damaged or lost they can become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Less than 1% of England’s deep peat has been identified as undamaged, with almost a quarter being under cultivation. As a result, countries are being encouraged to include peatland restoration as part of their commitments to global international agreements such as the Paris Agreement on climate change. As well as storing carbon, peat also provides important habitats for biodiversity and increasingly plays a major role in managing flood risk as part of natural flood management processes.

3.4.2 In Central Lincolnshire, existing peatland is classed as fen peat which has been identified and mapped and can be mainly found in low lying areas adjacent to waterways including near Gainsborough, Lincoln, North Kelsey and Sleaford. Although they make up a relatively small area of Central Lincolnshire they should be protected and preserved wherever possible to ensure they continue to store carbon. The extent of peat soils in Central Lincolnshire, identified from geology and soils mapping by the British Geological Survey and Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute, can be seen in the maps in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan: Climate Change Evidence Base Task L – Peat Soil Mapping (documents CLC011 and CLC012 in the local plan evidence base).

3.4.3 Carbon sequestration is the long-term removal, capture, or sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow or reverse atmospheric carbon dioxide and to mitigate or reverse climate change. Carbon dioxide is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes. These changes can be accelerated or decelerated through changes in land use. For example, land currently used for non-crop purposes (such as trees or grasslands) which is lost to other uses (such as development or intensive agriculture) can reduce or even stop carbon sequestration from happening on that land. Likewise, land which has no material carbon sequestration currently occurring can be converted, via alternative land use, to one which commences carbon sequestration. Overall, we need to protect land which has a role of positive carbon sequestration, and where possible create additional land fulfilling that function.

Policy S17: Carbon Sinks

Existing carbon sinks, such as peat soils, must be protected, and where opportunities exist they should be enhanced in order to continue to act as a carbon sink.

Where development is proposed on land containing peat soils or other identified carbon sinks, including woodland, trees and scrub; open habitats and farmland; blanket bogs, raised bogs and fens; and rivers, lakes and wetland habitats*, the applicant must submit a proportionate evaluation of the impact of the proposal on either  the peat soil’s carbon content  or  any other form of identified carbon sink as relevant and in all cases an appropriate management plan must be submitted.

There will be a presumption in favour of preservation of peat and other carbon sinks in-situ. Proposals that will result in unavoidable harm to, or loss of, peat soils or other identified carbon sinks will only be permitted if it is demonstrated that:

  1. the site is allocated for development; or
  2. there is not a less harmful viable option to development of that site.

In any such case, the harm caused must be shown to have been reduced to the minimum possible and appropriate, satisfactory provision will be made for the evaluation, recording and interpretation of the peat soils or other form of carbon sink before commencement of development.

For peat soils that are to be removed, the soils must be temporarily stored and then used in a way that will limit carbon loss to the atmosphere.

Proposals to enhance peat soils and protect its qualities will be supported. Proposals to help strengthen existing, or create new, carbon sinks will be supported.

Carbon Sequestration

The demonstration of meaningful carbon sequestration through nature based solutions within a proposal will be a material consideration in the decision-making process. Material weight in favour of a proposal will be given where the net situation is demonstrated to be a significant gain in nature based carbon sequestration as a consequence of the proposal. Where a proposal will cause harm to an existing nature based carbon sequestration process, weight against such a proposal will be given as a consequence of the harm, with the degree of weight dependent on the scale of net loss.

* Please refer to Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Habitat 2021 (NERR094) (Natural England), which identifies 'reliable', 'long term' and 'important' carbon sinks and to the maps in 'Central Lincolnshire Local Plan: Climate Change Evidence Base Task L – Peat Soil Mapping' (documents CLC011 and CLC012 in the local plan evidence base).

3.5 Theme 4 - Facilitating a Transition to Net-zero Carbon Lifestyles

3.5.1 Central Lincolnshire’s emissions come from a variety of sectors and activities. The Local Plan can influence many of these to a varying extent, but not to the full extent that would ensure a transition to net zero carbon across the whole plan area. National policy, sectoral practices, technological advance and individual behaviours will also shape the carbon outcomes.

3.5.2 Nevertheless, this Theme 4 section includes two policies to help with the transition towards a net zero society.

Transport - Transitioning Away from Fossil Fuel Use

3.5.3 Transport is the largest source of CO2 emissions in the UK, including in Central Lincolnshire. This is mostly due to road transport, where small increases in fuel efficiency have been cancelled out by an increase in mileage. The total amount of transport emissions has remained fairly similar in recent years, in contrast to other sectors which have shrunk their emissions. Lincolnshire has had a 46% increase in road mileage from 1993 to 2018. A switch to electric vehicles is underway but has been slow. The national ban on new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 will help, but existing cars will remain in use long after that. Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that we are at the start of the transition away from fossil fuel combustion engines to electric vehicles, a process which may have almost come to its conclusion by the end date (2040) of this Local Plan.

3.5.4 With such monumental change on the horizon, it is imperative that the built environment be ready.

3.5.5 In December 2021 the Building Regulations were updated with a new Part S being added which addresses Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. These regulations will come into effect in June 2022 and will require the provision of charging points in both residential and non-residential developments, with specific levels of requirements set out for uses, not for every parking space to be provided with a charging point.

3.5.6 As a result of these new Building Regulations Policy NS18 does not seek the basic provision of electric vehicle charging points, but, given that we will all be expected to drive electric vehicles in the not-too-distant future, it seeks to ensure that the location of electric vehicle charging points to be well situated to ensure that they will be readily accessible to future users.

Policy NS18: Electric Vehicle Charging

All applications that include provision of parking spaces will be required to meet the requirements set out in the Building Regulations.

The location of charging points in development proposals should be appropriately located to allow for easy and convenient access from the charge point to the parking space/s, and be designed and located in a way which:

  1. minimises the intrusion of the charge point on the wider use and access of the land;
  2. minimises the risk of vehicle collision with the charge point; and
  3. has ease of access for maintenance and replacement of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Fossil Fuels – Transitioning Away from Fossil Fuel Extraction

3.5.7 The current Lincolnshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan, adopted in 2016, includes a policy which supports the “exploration, appraisal and/or production of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons” (Policy M9). However, the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee has taken the view that both the legislative and policy context has evolved considerably since then. Indeed, the remaining carbon budget, at both a local and a global level, cannot be met if fossil fuels continue to be extracted and consumed. Whilst undoubtedly there will be period of time where we transition away from fossil fuels, it is imperative that the economy needs to move to low carbon energy, and Policy M9 is not, in the view of the Committee, compatible with this transition. Extraction and burning of fossil fuels is not commensurate with delivering a net zero carbon Central Lincolnshire.

3.5.8 Lincolnshire County Council is the Minerals Authority for Lincolnshire and as such they are responsible for making decisions on applications for mineral exploration and working, and for allocating land for such uses, as well as maintaining planning policies for minerals exploration and extraction. The Joint Committee recognises that this Local Plan cannot introduce a minerals policy relating to developments that fall under the jurisdiction of the County Council.  Nevertheless, resisting fossil fuel extraction is vital in delivering the climate change aims of this Local Plan, and therefore the Joint Committee is confirming its position against any form of fossil fuel exploration, extraction, production or energy generation in its area.

3.5.9 Notwithstanding the County Council's responsibilities as the likely decision makers on such proposals, should one of the three district based Local Planning Authorities be the decision maker on a proposal which relates to fossil fuel exploration, extraction, production or energy generation, then the following policy confirms such proposals will be refused. Ordinarily, however, the County Council is likely to be the decision maker. In such instances, the following policy cannot apply. However, the Joint Committee expresses its in-principle opposition to such proposals, and respectfully asks the County Council, as decision maker, and the District Councils as consultees, to take account of the Joint Committee's in-principle opposition when each party either makes a decision or comments on a proposal, respectively.

Policy S19: Fossil Fuel Exploration, Extraction, Production or Energy Generation

Any proposal for fossil fuel based exploration, extraction, production or energy generation for the determination by City of Lincoln, North Kesteven District Council or West Lindsey District Council will normally be refused on the basis that any remaining fossil fuels should remain under the ground as part of the commitment to a net zero-carbon society and economy.

3.6 Theme 5 - Adapting to a Changing Climate

3.6.1 This final section of the chapter acknowledges that climate change is happening and, even if we meet our legal obligations set by the Paris Agreement and the 2006 Act, there will be consequences that society will have to prepare for and learn to adapt to. It is important that new development enables society to respond to that change and adapt our built environment to accommodate those changes.

3.6.2 As part of this consideration is making sure that new development takes full account of flood risk, both current risk and future forecast risk.

3.6.3 Furthermore, the built environment should be built to last: buildings should be designed in a way that they are adaptable and can be fit for purpose in the long term, even if their use changes. Adaptable building design avoids, or at least minimises, waste, the use of materials, and overall emissions from the demolition and redevelopment of buildings that are no longer fit for purpose and incapable of being easily changed.

Adapting to a Changing Climate – Building Design

3.6.4 The built environment should be built to last: buildings should be designed in a way that they are adaptable and can be fit for purpose in the long term, even if their use changes. Adaptable building design avoids, or at least minimises, waste, reduces the use of materials, and reduces overall emissions from the demolition and redevelopment of buildings that are no longer fit for purpose or incapable of being easily changed.

3.6.5 Overheating is also an area of growing concern. Government published alongside the Future Homes Standard consultation in October 2019 research on home overheating which demonstrated that during warm years, overheating will occur in most new homes in most locations in England, particularly in London. The research also showed that mitigation techniques, such as solar shading and increased ventilation, are highly effective at reducing indoor temperatures, which in turn reduces the risk of mortality and the impact on productivity associated with sleep loss. Accordingly, Government is presently considering, via its Future Buildings Standard programme, the introduction of new Building Regulations “to introduce a new regulatory requirement for overheating mitigation, alongside new statutory guidance, with the aim of reducing overheating risk in new-build residential buildings.” Any such new Regulations should be read in conjunction with the policy requirements under ‘heat resilience’ set out below.

Policy S20: Resilient and Adaptable Design

Heat resilience

In order to prevent and minimise the impacts of overheating in the built environment, applicants must demonstrate, commensurate with the scale and location of the proposal, consideration of:

  1. How the design of the development minimises overheating and reduces demand on air conditioning systems, including considering:
  1. orienting buildings to maximise the opportunities for both natural heating and ventilation and to reduce wind exposure; and
  2. measures such as solar shading, thermal mass and appropriately coloured materials in areas exposed to direct and excessive sunlight;

In considering the above, the balance between solar gain versus solar shading will need to be carefully managed.

  1. The potential to incorporate a green roof and/or walls to aid cooling, add insulation and enhance biodiversity, wherever possible linking into a wider network of green infrastructure.

Adaptable design

Applicants should design proposals to be adaptable to future social, economic, technological and environmental requirements in order to make buildings both fit for purpose in the long term and to minimise future resource consumption in the adaptation and redevelopment of buildings in response to future needs. To meet this requirement, applicants should undertake the following, where applicable:

  1. Having multiple well-placed entrances on larger non-residential buildings to allow for easier subdivision; and
  2. Provision of electric car charging infrastructure (see Policy NS18);
  3. Allow for future adaptation or extension by means of the building’s internal arrangement internal height, detailed design and construction, including the use of internal stud walls rather than solid walls to allow easier reconfiguration of internal layout;
  4. Provision of internal space to successfully accommodate ‘home working’;
  5. Infrastructure that supports car free development and lifestyles;
  6. Is resilient to flood risk, from all forms of flooding (see Policy S21).

3.7 Flood Risk and Water Resources

3.7.1 Central Lincolnshire’s rivers and water resources are a valuable asset, supporting wildlife, recreation and tourism, as well as providing water for businesses, households and agriculture. Inland waterways are a multifunctional asset that can contribute towards many Local Plan objectives, including important opportunities for regeneration, tourism, and sustainable transport. Water resources require careful management to conserve their quality and value and to address drainage and flooding issues.

Flood Risk

3.7.2 In accordance with the NPPF and supporting technical guidance, Policy S21 seeks to ensure that development does not place itself or others at increased risk of flooding. All development will be required to demonstrate that regard has been given to existing and future flood patterns from all flooding sources and that the need for effective protection and flood risk management measures, where appropriate, have been considered as early on in the development process as possible. In allocating sites within this Local Plan, an SFRA Level 1 and Level 2 has been undertaken, as appropriate, to inform the process.

3.7.3 A sequential risk based approach to the location of development, known as a ‘sequential test,’ will be applied to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding. If, following the application of the sequential test, it is not possible, consistent with wider sustainability objectives, for development to be located in areas with a lower probability of flooding, the exception test may be applied. The exception test, in line with NPPF, requires development to show that it will provide wider sustainability benefits to the community that outweigh flood risk, that it would be safe for its lifetime taking account of the vulnerability of its users, without increasing risk elsewhere and, where possible, will reduce flood risk overall.

3.7.4 Central Lincolnshire contains significant areas of low lying land for which a number of organisations are responsible for managing flood risk and drainage, including the Environment Agency (EA), Lincolnshire County Council as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Anglian Water and Severn Trent Water Companies, the Canal and River Trust, a number of Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) and the three Local Authorities. Flood defences protect many of the existing built-up areas from river flooding to a currently acceptable standard, but it is anticipated that the risk of flooding will increase in the future as a result of climate change. These include predicted sea level rise, more intense rainfall and increased river flows.

3.7.5 Many of Central Lincolnshire’s settlements were originally established adjacent to rivers or other water bodies. Over time these same settlements have grown into the main centres of population in Central Lincolnshire and now represent, in terms of wider sustainability criteria, the most sustainable locations for future development. A careful balance therefore needs to be struck between further growth in these areas to ensure their communities continue to thrive and the risk of flooding.

3.7.6 With the increased likelihood of more intense rainfall combined with further development in Central Lincolnshire, there will be an increase in the incidence of surface water runoff, placing greater pressure on existing drainage infrastructure. The discharge of surface water to combined sewer systems should be on an exceptional basis only. This will ensure that capacity constraints of existing systems are not put under severe pressure by placing unnecessary demands on existing sewage works and sewage systems which in turn could compromise the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. The discharge of surface water to combined sewer systems can also contribute to surface water flooding elsewhere.

3.7.7 Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are used to replicate, as closely as possible, the natural drainage from a site before development takes place without transferring pollution to groundwater. Developers should ensure that good SuDS principles consistent with national standards such as The SuDS Manual (C753 – CIRIA) are considered and incorporated into schemes as early in the development process as possible. A multi-functional approach to SuDS is encouraged that should take every opportunity to incorporate features that enhance and maintain biodiversity as part of a coherent green and blue infrastructure approach. The use of Integrated Water Management is encouraged for larger scale developments. Reference should be made to the Lincolnshire County Council Development Roads and Sustainable Drainage Design Guide and CIRIA guidance on Integrated Water Management. The Design Guide provides information on planning and adoption milestones and requirements and lists the essential technical documents and information required at various stages of the planning and adoption process to enable the necessary processes to be progressed. When SuDS features which meet the legal definition of sewers are to be adopted by the relevant water company for the area, reference should be made to the Design and Construction Guidance.

Protecting the Water Environment

3.7.8 The Central Lincolnshire authorities work closely with water companies, the EA and other relevant bodies to ensure that infrastructure improvements to manage increased waste water and sewage effluent produced by new development are delivered in a timely manner, and to ensure that, as required by the Water Framework Directive, there is no deterioration to water quality and the environment.

3.7.9 Parts of Central Lincolnshire are currently constrained by the capacity of water recycling infrastructure, and will require coordinated timing between development and new or improved infrastructure provision. The predominantly rural nature of the area means that there are developments without mains drainage connection that will require careful design and management. The first presumption in such areas must be to provide a system of foul drainage discharging into a public sewer. Only where it can be shown to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that connection to a public sewer is not feasible, should non-mains foul sewage disposal solutions be considered.

3.7.10 Groundwater Source Protection Zones (SPZs) are areas of groundwater where there is a particular sensitivity to pollution risks due to the closeness of a drinking water source and how the groundwater flows. They are used to protect abstractions used for public water supply and other forms of distribution to the public such as breweries and food production plants. Development in the SPZs will be expected to comply with the EA's approach to groundwater protection (Feb 2018 v1.2) or any subsequent replacement.

3.7.11 Central Lincolnshire lies within the East Midlands area of serious water stress where drought is a cause for concern. This is a major challenge in the context of Central Lincolnshire’s planned growth, and will require careful conservation and management of water resources to ensure that demand for water can be achieved in a sustainable manner. It also provides the justification to require, via this Local Plan, the higher water efficiency standard of 110 litres per day which can be achieved through the installation of water efficient toilets, showers and taps. Water re-use measures are encouraged wherever feasible in order to reduce consumption and demand on the mains water supply further.

3.7.12 The River Trent as it skirts the edge of Central Lincolnshire and runs adjacent to the main town of Gainsborough, from Cromwell Weir to the River Humber, is tidal and flows into the internationally important Humber Estuary. The River Witham passing through Central Lincolnshire and the City of Lincoln flows into the Wash, also of international importance. As such, any proposals that affect or might affect the marine area should make reference to and be guided by the Marine Policy Statement and supporting guidance or any subsequent replacement. The Marine Policy Statement provides a shared UK vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas by ensuring a consistent approach to marine planning across UK waters. Development in this area should also make reference to the East Inshore and East Offshore Marine Plans.

3.7.13 To support the planning process and provide a better understanding of flood risk, drainage management and water management in the area, data from the EA, LLFA, IDBs and Water Resources East have been used to inform the SFRA Level 1 and 2, site allocations and Local Plan policies. In preparing the Local Plan, the Joint Lincolnshire Flood Risk and Drainage Management Strategy, Partnership Approach to Catchment Management, Water Resources Management Plan and the GLLEP Water Management Plan have been referenced.

3.7.14 All relevant development proposals, where appropriate, should be discussed with the Local Planning Authority in liaison with the EA, Water Services Provider, IDBs and the LLFA at the earliest opportunity, preferably at pre-application stage. This should ensure flood risk and drainage solutions, particularly where required on site, can be factored into the development process as early as possible.

Policy S21: Flood Risk and Water Resources

Flood Risk

All development proposals will be considered against the NPPF, including application of the sequential and, if necessary, the exception test.

Through appropriate consultation and option appraisal, development proposals should demonstrate:

  1. that they are informed by and take account of the best available information from all sources of flood risk and by site specific flood risk assessments where appropriate;
  2. that the development does not place itself or existing land or buildings at increased risk of flooding;
  3. that the development will be safe during its lifetime taking into account the impacts of climate change and will be resilient to flood risk from all forms of flooding such that in the event of a flood the development could be quickly brought back into use without significant refurbishment;
  4. that the development does not affect the integrity of existing flood defences and any necessary flood mitigation measures have been agreed with the relevant bodies, where adoption, ongoing maintenance and management have been considered and any necessary agreements are in place;
  5. how proposals have taken a positive approach to reducing overall flood risk and have considered the potential to contribute towards solutions for the wider area; and
  6. that they have incorporated Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)/ Integrated Water Management into the proposals unless they can be shown to be inappropriate.

Protecting the Water Environment

Development proposals that are likely to impact on surface or ground water should consider the requirements of the Water Framework Directive.

Development proposals should demonstrate:

  1. that water is available to support the development proposed;
  2. that adequate mains foul water treatment and disposal already exists or can be provided in time to serve the development. Non mains foul sewage disposal solutions should only be considered where it can be shown to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that connection to a public sewer is not feasible; 
  3. that they meet the Building Regulation water efficiency standard of 110 litres per occupier per day or the highest water efficiency standard that applies at the time of the planning application (see also Policy S12); 
  4. that water reuse and recycling and rainwater harvesting measures have been incorporated wherever possible in order to reduce demand on mains water supply as part of an integrated approach to water management (see also Policy S11); 
  5. that they have followed the surface water hierarchy for all proposals:
    1. surface water runoff is collected for use;
    2. discharge into the ground via infiltration;
    3. discharge to a watercourse or other surface water body;
    4. discharge to a surface water sewer, highway drain or other drainage system, discharging to a watercourse or other surface water body;
    5.  discharge to a combined sewer;
  6. that no surface water connections are made to the foul system;
  7. that surface water connections to the combined or surface water system are only made in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that there are no feasible alternatives (this applies to new developments and redevelopments) and where there is no detriment to existing users;
  8. that no combined sewer overflows are created in areas served by combined sewers, and that foul and surface water flows are separated;
  9. that development contributes positively to the water environment and its ecology where possible and does not adversely affect surface and ground water quality in line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive;
  10. that development with the potential to pose a risk to groundwater resources is not located in sensitive locations to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive;
  11. how Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)/ Integrated Water Management to deliver improvements to water quality, the water environment and to improve amenity and biodiversity net gain wherever possible have been incorporated into the proposal unless they can be shown to be impractical; 
  12. that relevant site investigations, risk assessments and necessary mitigation measures for source protection zones around boreholes, wells, springs and water courses have been agreed with the relevant bodies (e.g. the Environment Agency and relevant water companies);
  13. that suitable access is safeguarded for the maintenance of watercourses, water resources, flood defences and drainage infrastructure; and
  14. that adequate provision is made to safeguard the future maintenance of water bodies to which surface water and foul water treated on the site of the development is discharged, preferably by an appropriate authority (e.g.  Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board, Water Company, the Canal and River Trust or local Council).

In order to allow access for the maintenance of watercourses, development proposals that include or abut a watercourse should ensure no building, structure or immovable landscaping feature is included that will impede access within 8m of a watercourse, or within 16m of a tidal watercourse.  Conditions may be included where relevant to ensure this access is maintained in perpetuity and may seek to ensure responsibility for maintenance of the watercourse including land ownership details up to and of the watercourse is clear and included in maintenance arrangements for future occupants.