Ministers will also consult on a new blueprint to overhaul the planning system in order to create a simpler, fairer system that works for everyone – from home owners to small and medium businesses, local communities to housing developers. The government has also confirmed proposals to speed up the planning system, including the potential for more fees to be refunded if councils take too long to decide on specific planning applications.
Local residents will no longer have to contend with a complicated and outdated planning system, but a more user-friendly approach designed to simply the process. Small developers will similarly benefit from the simplification of guidance, with the introduction of a new tiered planning system. Application fees will also be reviewed to ensure council planning departments are properly resourced, providing more qualified planners to process applications for new homes and other proposals.
The accelerated planning green paper will be published in November 2019. Government has also set out its ambition to reduce planning conditions by a third and will take forward proposals to allow homes to be built above existing properties as well as seeking views on demolishing old commercial buildings for new housing, revitalising high streets in the process.
Low Carbon Electricity – Meeting the growing demand
The carbon reduction targets in the consultation are based on the widescale adoption of heat pumps – a very different strategy from the previous zero carbon trajectory which relied on complex carbon offsetting rules to work. This change is the successful growth of offshore windfarms which has been much faster than anticipated due to rapidly falling capital costs. These are now economic without subsidy. The 2025 target relies on this trend continuing.
The country is going to need this low carbon electricity to fulfil the ambitions of a consultation due out later this year which aims to reduce carbon emissions from existing homes. This is likely to rely on the adoption of heat pumps, therefore, tackling the existing stock is the only way to hit the 2050 zero carbon target.
As demand for electricity increases to power electric vehicles and homes there needs to be a parallel growth in energy storage systems to take full advantage of the growth in wind power. There is a case for government help on the grounds that subsidies have been so successful in stimulating the renewable energy sector.