Planning for clean energy and a low carbon economy

16 March 2019

A free 1-day workshop held today (15 March) in Preston council offices brought together business, local government and community groups (and, by fortuitous accident, even some striking school students) to look at how these different sectors can work together towards in the clean energy and low carbon economy transition in Lancashire, the North West and the rest of the UK.

The day was about understanding how these varied stakeholders can maximise collaboration and positive outcomes, and how civil society can add to the efforts of local councils in working towards a low carbon economy.

For speakers, see below. You can download slides of the presentations by clicking here.

And here is the report Cost of Carbon Reduction in New Buildings by Currie & Brown, referred to in the workshop discussions, which models the feasibility and cost implications of different standards for zero carbon planning policies.

Lancashire’s Energy Strategy, Strategic Innovation Audit and local provision on the ground – Miranda Barker, CEO, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
Highlighting work being carried out in Lancashire on energy, innovation and low carbon industries, and the opportunities and challenges facing business and local government.

Planning for the Climate Crisis – Hugh Ellis, Policy Director, TCPA. 
Outlining the measures local authorities and businesses can adopt to reduce carbon and help build resilience.

Community Energy & Business Partnerships – Gill Fenna, Quantum Strategy & Technology Ltd. 
How businesses can benefit from working with community energy organisations to install renewable energy at their sites with no upfront costs.

Planning for a low carbon future – Hugh Ellis, Policy Director, TCPA. 
What the planning system can do now to reduce carbon emissions: existing government law and policy plus case studies of innovation in local plan policy.

Integrating Community Energy into Neighbourhood Planning – Dan Stone and Graham McGrath, Centre for Sustainable Energy; Gill Fenna, Quantum Strategy & Technology Ltd and Burneside Community Energy.
How Neighbourhood Plans can integrate energy considerations and community energy into planning policy, using a case study.

Dan Stone said: "It was an excellent day in which these varied stakeholders explored ways to maximise their collaboration and positive outcomes while working together throughout transition to a low carbon future."

Appropriately enough – given the workshop was about how the planning system can address climate change and how civil society can contribute – there was a demonstration outside the building from 30 or so student climate strikers. Seizing the opportunity, the speakers from the workshop came downstairs to address the demo (see photo).

Dan Stone told the protesters that it was fantastic that their movement was protesting for greater action on climate change, and a next step might be to find out what politicians are doing and whether they could do more, and that the planning system could have a huge influence in terms of reducing carbon emissions and improving resilience to climate impacts. Some of the students then joined the workshop for the afternoon sessions to find out more.

Dan Stone said, “It was incredibly timely. There we were, discussing how civil society can amplify what councils are doing on climate change and expand the level of ambition politicians feel able to express, when all of a sudden civil society came banging on our door. It really changed the dynamics of the afternoon session for the better.”

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