Report of the Director of Place.
The Cabinet were presented with a report from the Director of Place, which sought approval for the Non-Statutory Interim Planning Policy Statement to be published for public consultation.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration noted that:
The Leader thanked the Cabinet for their presentation and asked the Chief Executive to make a comment on the work done with the University of Exeter, to which the Chief Executive explained that work undertaken by the University of Exeter was more in relation to the Council’s own emissions and that this report considered how plans would be considered within the planning process.
A Cabinet Member welcomed this report and noted that this report played an important part in Mid Devon’s decarbonisation.
A Cabinet Member was positive about this report, but raised that this was not statutory and therefore there were no obligations for developers to follow this. Clarification was sought as to what the costs might be to uphold this. The Director of Place explained that the process was quite involved and expected that there might be a degree of pushback but climate change was relevant and this process would support deliberations at Planning Committee and for engagement to be promoted.
The Cabinet Member added that there was a cost to this and raised concern over public engagement and that there was a need for its use to be encouraged. An Officer explained that the consultation would highlight concerns raised and that adjustments could be made where necessary.
A Member had noted that this demanded extra work, it was a stepping stone and set the Council’s intentions as well as environmental expectations. In addition, they noted that other Councils already had environmental policy standards, whereas this Council had not.
A Member had raised concern that this process was not statutory and that some developers had not been as engaged with environmental frameworks because it was not policy and was concerned it would be ignored.
The Chief Executive explained that had not been a choice for the process to be statutory or non-statutory and that the current local plan had not contained the necessary content to make this process supplementary to the local plan which was why this process had been introduced.
· The draft Non-Statutory Interim Planning Policy Statement: Climate Emergency (Appendix 1), including the Net Zero Carbon Toolkit (Appendix 2) and the Net Zero Housing Assessment Tool (Appendix 3) be approved for public consultation.
· Delegated authority be given to the Director of Place in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration to finalise the material and arrangements for consultation.
(Proposed by Cllr C Slade and seconded by Cllr A Moore)
Reason for Decision: The Non-Statutory Interim Planning Policy Statement plan will help meet the Corporate Plan priorities: ‘Homes’, ‘Environment’, ‘Community’ and ‘Economy’. The Non-Statutory Interim Planning Policy Statement will supplement relevant policies in the adopted Local Plan where these are relevant to adapting to, and mitigating the impacts of, climate change through development in Mid Devon, and it will draw from current good practice and relevant legislation and statutory provisions since the Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State in March 2017 and subject to its independent examination.