Climate Guide Case Studies

This online case study hub showcases practical examples and best practice to support local authority planners and other built environment professionals to address climate change through the planning system. The case studies cover a range of actions that planners can take to address climate change, categorised into key themes and topic areas.

The case studies are referred to and linked throughout the Royal Town Planning Institute and Town & Country Planning Association’s joint guidance The Climate Crisis – a guide for local authorities on planning for climate change. This free resource is available here.

Content warning

Following the publication of a Written Ministerial Statement on 13 December 2023, some of the case studies relating to energy performance and net zero buildings in England may now be out of date.

The TCPA is currently reviewing the implications of this WMS and will provide updated guidance in the coming weeks.

Climate change mitigation

CM1: Cornwall Council – climate emergency declaration and plans for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and reviewed its local plan with the aim of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The council recognised that the policies in the adopted local plan were not sufficient to meet this target and protect against the impacts of climate change, and so the Climate Emergency Development Plan Document replaces some local plan policies and introduces others.

The plan includes policies on renewable and low carbon energy and sustainable energy and construction, including a requirement for new residential buildings to achieve net zero carbon. Examination hearings took place in June 2022, and was found sound (subject to modifications) in January 2023. Alongside the Bath & North East Somerset Local Plan Partial Update, this is one of the first local plans to include policies to secure net zero developments.  

Link: Climate Emergency Development Plan Document

Authors: Cornwall Council

Date: January 2023

Case study CM1

CM2: Eastleigh Borough Council – Environmentally Sustainable Development SPD

Adopted over ten years ago, Eastleigh Borough Council’s Environmentally Sustainable Development SPD had a core objective of reducing domestic carbon dioxide emissions and ensuring ‘that future development in Eastleigh is significantly more environmentally sustainable than the minimum standard currently required by Building Regulations’.

It includes requirements on a range of issues including for SuDS to manage surface water run off:

The Council requires all residential development of 10 dwellings or more and all non-residential and multi-residential development (over 1000 sq m of external floor space) to :
 • show that run-off rates and annual volumes of run-off post development will be no greater than the previous conditions for the site.  
• show that all roofs and hard surfaces are drained by sustainable drainage systems
• provide a drainage report for the whole site.

Link: Environmentally Sustainable Development SPD, March 2009

Authors: Eastleigh Borough Council

Date: March 2009

Case study CM2

CM3: Welsh Government – coal extraction policy

The Welsh Government has developed policy to restrict coal extraction proposals that do not consider their impacts on climate change emissions.

Coal is a non-renewable energy source. All proposals for the extraction of coal, including any secondary coal products produced during mining operations, which are destined for energy markets, must clearly demonstrate why they are needed in the context of climate change emission reduction targets. Energy markets include, but are not limited to, the domestic consumption of coal products and electricity generation.

Welsh Ministers therefore do not intend to authorise new Coal Authority mining operation licences or variations to existing licences.

However, in wholly exceptional circumstances, Welsh Government would consider the further extraction of coal. Each proposal would be considered on its individual merits, but must clearly demonstrate:
• Why the extraction is required to support industrial non-energy generating uses for coal.
• Why the extraction is needed in the context of decarbonisation and climate change emission reductions targets, or to
ensure the safe winding-down of mining operations or site remediation.
• How the extraction contributes to Welsh prosperity and our role as a globally responsible Wales.

Decisions will be made on the specific circumstances of each case based on its climate impact, with the presumption being against extraction.
Welsh Ministers will consider approval for individual licences in the context of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, our climate targets and energy policy.

The principles set out in our coal policy will apply to coal extraction on land in Wales and in the seabed coalfields under the territorial seas around Wales.

Link: Coal Policy Statement, March 2021.

Authors: Welsh Government

Date: March 2021

Case study CM3

Planning policy

PP1: Crawley Borough Council – supplementary planning document for planning and climate change

In October 2016, Crawley Borough Council adopted a supplementary planning document on planning and climate change. It provides details on how development in Crawley should deliver the local development plan policies related to climate change.

Link: Planning and Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document, October 2016.

Authors: Crawley Borough Council

Date: October 2016

Case study PP1

PP2: Salford City Council – climate change policy

Salford City Council created a policy on where developments in Salford must comply with the city’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2038. This policy contains four obligations, and all are backed by a range of detailed policy requirements, and cross referenced to other policies in the plan.

Policy CC1 Climate Change
Developments shall support Salford becoming carbon neutral by 2038, through where relevant:
A) Minimising carbon emissions …
B) Maximising carbon storage and sequestration …
C) Mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change …
D) Responding to the economic and policy changes that are likely to accompany climate change

Link: Publication Salford Local Plan: Development Management Policies and Designations. Salford City Council, January 2020.  

Authors: Salford City Council

Date: January 2020

Case study PP2

PP3: Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation- making climate change an overall priority in the local plan

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation includes policy in their local plan that ensures that development proposals account for various aspects of sustainability.

Policy SP2: Good Growth
Delivering a new part of London, that supports best practice and innovative approaches to achieving high density, high quality development across the environmental, social and economic strands of sustainability.
Proposals should:
create vibrant, mixed and inclusive lifetime neighbourhoods;
deliver a low carbon and environmentally resilient development, that is adaptive to and resilient to climate change;
-deliver the highest standards of place making, urban design and architecture;
-ensure the robust and feasible ongoing management of the built environment;
-promote and deliver efficiency and effectiveness in advanced construction;
design, construct and manage a smart and resilient city;
-promote resource efficiency and the principles of the circular and sharing economy;
and proactively engage with and deliver benefits for local communities.

Link: Local Plan 2018-2038, June 2022.

Authors: Old Oak and Royal Park Development Corporation

Date: June 2022

Case study PP3

PP4: West Yorkshire Combined Authority – Clean Growth Action Plan

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Clean Growth Action plan includes a set of Clean Growth Principles:

  1. Reduce energy and carbon emissions
  2. Minimise waste and water consumption
  3. Tackle air quality and improve health
  4. Use sustainable resources
  5. Enhance our natural environment
  6. Integrate clean growth decision making 
  7. Measure and report our performance

Planning should draw on local economic evidence and can support delivery of an overarching strategy for a clean economy.

Link: Clean Growth Action Plan, 2019

Authors: West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Date: September 2019

Case study PP4

PP5: Cornwall Council- climate viability planning

Cornwall Council’s Climate Emergency Development Plan Document is one of the first local plans to be found sound with net zero buildings policies that are more ambitious than nationally set standards.

A key part of the evidence base supporting the Development Plan document was the report commissioned to assess the viability of the whole plan.

The report assesses the viability of Cornwall Council’s climate targets by testing a range of residential and non-residential typologies. The viability testing includes the impact of the 2021 changes to Building Regulations (requiring a 31% reduction in CO2) as well as the proposed requirements in the DPD for greater carbon reductions to achieve net zero buildings.

The executive summary of the report summarises the key findings, including that:

The residential viability testing has shown that generally in Cornwall development is viable and is able to support the DPD policy costs identified in this study.

The viability testing of non-residential buildings suggested that although the cost implications of climate change mitigation policies were minimal, there are wider viability issues affecting non-residential build costs in Cornwall:

Many non-residential development types are not viable in Cornwall. This has been the case for many years and historically European funding has part addressed the viability gap (as well as requiring higher levels of energy efficiency).

The plan Inspector was satisfied that the Council had evidenced the deliverability of the policies, stating that:

Issues around viability have been explored and the Council’s evidence shows that the standards the Council propose will have little effect on housing delivery, and no effect at all on employment-related development. Moreover, in relation to housing, where the evidence shows that there might be an impact on viability in parts of Cornwall, the policy includes a viability clause.

(See paragraph 168 of the Cornwall Climate Emergency DPD Inspectors Report).

Link: Climate Viability Plan, 2021

Authors: Three Dragons with Alder King and ORS, on behalf of Cornwall Council

Date: February 2021

Case study PP5

PP6: Lancaster City Council – climate emergency Local Plan review

Lancaster City Council have undertaken an expediated review of a recently adopted local plan, following the council declaring a climate emergency in 2019. The review focuses on incorporating the actions and directions from the council’s climate emergency declaration. The updated policies include housing standards, sustainable design and renewable and low carbon energy generation. Examination hearings on the climate emergency review took place in October 2022.

Link: Local Plan Examination, 2022

Authors Lancaster City Council

Date: October 2022

Case study PP6

PP7: Lancaster City Council – water efficiency policy approach

As part of Lancaster City Council’s Climate Emergency local plan review, a policy on water efficiency has been included. Water efficiency supports both climate change mitigation and adaptation, as heating water can increase energy use (which may have a carbon impact depending on the heating system), and pressure on water availability will increase as a result of climate change.

Policy DM30a is subject to a potential main modification which has not yet been subject to consultation, an excerpt from the proposed modified policy is below:

All major non-residential development should incorporate water conservation measures so that predicted per capita consumption does not exceed the appropriate levels set out in the applicable BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard. Where the ‘Excellent’ Standard cannot be achieved, evidence must be submitted with an application to the satisfaction of the City Council. The BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standard must be met as a minimum. The design of new developments should optimise the inclusion of water efficiency and consumption measures, such as rainwater/ or greywater recycling, low flow taps and showers, low flush toilets, rain gardens and water butts in the construction of new buildings.

Link: Local plan examination, 2022.

Authors: Lancaster City Council

Date: October 2022

Case study PP7

PP8: West Oxfordshire District Council – Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan Examination

Salt Cross Garden Village was allocated in the West Oxfordshire Local Plan (2031) for the development of around 2,200 homes, a science park and other services, facilities and transport links. To provide a robust framework to bring forward this strategic location, an Area Action Plan (AAP) was developed by West Oxfordshire District Council to become part of the statutory development plan for the district. The AAP included ambitious policy requirements for operational net zero carbon buildings. 

However, the Inspector’s proposed main modifications in response to the examination included significant changes to this policy, resulting in a watering down of requirements on net zero. The Inspector’s reasoning for this change was that ‘we are not satisfied that Policy 2 is either consistent with national policy or justified’.

It is the TCPA’s view that this decision is wrong and based on a failure to apply up to date law and policy, and has caused significant confusion for local authorities wishing to drive reductions in carbon emissions to meet both national and local net zero targets.

This case study demonstrates some of the challenges facing local authorities, but the TCPA would seek to reassure local authorities that they are able to set net zero standards in planning policy that go further than building regulations and national policy requirements.  

Further commentary from the TCPA and a statement on this topic is available here.

Link: Salt Cross area action plan examination

Authors: West Oxfordshire District Council

Date: June 2021

Case study PP8

PP9: Derbyshire County Council: Planning and climate change guidance and assessment tool

Derbyshire County Council have developed ‘Vision Derbyshire’ to ensure that all levels of government in Derbyshire coordinate to level up the county. As a part of this, the Planning and climate change guidance and assessment tool was published in February 2023 as a resource to assist in the preparation of development plans and development proposals that are designed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. These documents are comprehensive and along with the guidance papers, local planning policy reviews, assessment tools and checklists are included.

The assessment tool uses a traffic light system to determine the extent that development proposals address climate change. It includes criteria that pertains to the built environment, commercial/business use, green infrastructure, energy generation, travel, water, minerals and waste. The checklist also addresses the issues and measures in the assessment tool and sorts the criteria into the same categories. Although it does not provide scores like the assessment tool, it may be useful as a guide for developers.

When used in conjunction, these documents work towards ensuring that action on climate change is being consistently prioritised by the planning system across the whole county.

Link: Planning and climate change guidance and assessment tool

Authors: Derbyshire County Council

Date: February 2023

Case study PP9

Low carbon energy and renewables

ER1: Test Valley Borough Council – low carbon energy and renewables

Several local planning authorities across the UK have been undertaking studies to identify the potential for different forms of renewable and low-carbon energy generation within their areas. In 2020, LUC (Land Use Consultants) and CSE (the Centre for Sustainable Energy) prepared a renewable and low-carbon energy study for Test Valley Borough Council. The study provides a robust evidence base to underpin planning policies relating to renewable and low-carbon energy generation and low-carbon development within the local plan. It identifies both the potential for different renewable technologies (wind, solar, hydropower, biomass, heat pumps, and geothermal) at all scales within the borough and the opportunities for development to draw its energy supply from decentralised or low-carbon energy sources, including district heating.

Link: Test Valley Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study, 2020.

Authors: LUC in association with CSE, for Test Valley Borough Council

Date: December 2020

Case study ER1

ER2: ParkPower project – using green space for decarbonised energy supply

The ParkPower project, led by Greenspace Scotland, explores the potential contribution that heat pumps situated in urban green and blue spaces could make to the Scottish Government’s ambitions to decarbonise the energy system. The project has found that using heat pump technologies in urban rivers and green spaces has the potential to generate 40.7 terrawatts (TWh) per year – equivalent to 79% of all heat demand from within urban settlements.

Link Green Heat in Greenspaces: National Results Report. Greenspace Scotland, May 2021.

Authors: ParkPower, greenspace Scotland, Ramboll

Date: May 2021

Case study ER2

ER3: Stroud District Council – using a climate emergency declaration to promote renewable and low-carbon energy generation and distribution

To deliver achieve the Council’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030, a policy is included in Stroud District Council’s local plan to promote renewable and low carbon energy. The plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in October 2021.

Delivery Policy ES2
Renewable or low carbon energy generation

In determining applications for renewable and low carbon energy, and associated infrastructure, the following issues will be considered:

1. the contribution of the proposals, in the light of the Council’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising our energy system.

Link: Stroud District Local Plan Review – Pre-Submission Draft Plan, May 2021.

Authors: Stroud District Council

Date: May 2021

Case study ER3

ER4: Cornwall Council- adopting a positive strategy for renewable energy

Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and has subsequently released their Climate Emergency Development Plan Document. Within this document is policy pertaining to renewable and low carbon energy to ensure that sustainable energy proposals are supported and contribute to meeting Cornwall’s energy targets and provide for 10% biodiversity net gain.

Examination hearings took place in June 2022, and the final Inspectors Report following consultation on main modifications is currently awaited.

Policy RE1 – Renewable and Low Carbon Energy
1. Proposals for renewable and low carbon energy-generating and distribution networks, will be supported in the context of sustainable development and climate change, where:
a. they contribute to meeting Cornwall’s target of 100% renewable electricity supply by 2030; and

e. Where the current use of the land is agricultural The use allows for the continuation of the site for some form of agricultural activity proportionate to the scale of the proposal and provides for 10% biodiversity net gain; and [MM93]

Link: Climate Emergency Development Plan Document (Minor and Main Modifications consultation), July 2022

Authors Cornwall Council

Date: August 2022

Case study ER4

ER5: Greater London Authority – masterplanning for energy infrastructure

The London Plan includes an energy infrastructure policy which seeks to diversify London’s energy supply to include a range of low and zero-carbon sources to improve sustainability and resilience. The policy includes a requirement for energy masterplans to identify renewable and low carbon energy opportunities to support the development of the capital’s energy infrastructure.

Policy SI 3 Energy infrastructure
B Energy masterplans should be developed for large-scale development locations […] which establish the most effective energy supply options. Energy masterplans should identify:
1) major heat loads (including anchor heat loads, with particular reference to sites such as universities, hospitals and social housing)
2) heat loads from existing buildings that can be connected to future phases of a heat network
3) major heat supply plant including opportunities to utilise heat from energy from waste plants
4) secondary heat sources, including both environmental and waste heat
5) opportunities for low and ambient temperature heat networks
6) possible land for energy centres and/or energy storage
7) possible heating and cooling network routes
8) opportunities for futureproofing utility infrastructure networks to minimise the impact from road works
9) infrastructure and land requirements for electricity and gas supplies
10) implementation options for delivering feasible projects, considering issues of procurement, funding and risk, and the role of the public sector
11) opportunities to maximise renewable electricity generation and incorporate demand-side response measures

Link: The London Plan, 2021.

Authors Greater London Authority

Date: March 2021

Case study ER5

ER6: Stroud District Council – evidence on renewable energy availability

Stroud District Council has set a target for carbon neutrality by 2030. To achieve this target, the Council recognises the need to increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources in the district.

The local plan review includes a new policy on renewable and low carbon energy generation which outlines criteria for determining applications for renewable and low carbon energy, and associated infrastructure. To support this policy, the Council commissioned a Renewable Energy Resources Assessment, to identify potential areas suitable for renewable energy schemes to inform the policy and policy maps contained within the local plan.

Stroud’s policy approach is: to identify all land with technical potential according to the District’s Council’s Renewable Energy Resources Assessment (RERA) (2019) as suitable for wind development; but to require that all proposals on this land also satisfy a variety of criteria that will ensure that impacts upon the environment and amenity of the district can be adequately controlled. These criteria are set within the policy which are an additional requirement to being in a suitable area on the Policies Map.



Draft Local Plan – Stroud District Council. Renewable Energy Resources Assessment – Centre for Sustainable Energy and LUC

Date: November 2019

Case study ER6

ER7: Orkney – Surf ‘n’ Turf Community Energy project

Surf ‘n’ Turf is a renewable energy project in Orkney, led by Community Energy Scotland with the goal to make and use more electricity locally. The project uses tidal turbines to generate hydrogen in addition to wind turbines. The hydrogen generated through the tidal turbines splitting the water is stored in a hydrogen fuel cell on Kirkwall Pier, where it converts the hydrogen to electricity using the oxygen from the air. This innovative project has been awarded £1.46 million in development funding from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund. 

Link: Surf-n-Turf project

Authors: Community Energy Scotland

Date: Ongoing

Case study ER7

ER8: Islington Council – energy fund guidance for local authorities

The Community Energy London (CEL) collaborated with Islington Council’s Energy team to prepare guidance to officers on issues to consider when establishing a community energy fund. Four rounds of Section 106 carbon offset funds have been given to Islington Council, cumulating to a total of £360,000 that have been given to such projects.

Link: Setting Up a Local Authority Community Energy Fund, January 2023.

Authors: Community Energy London and Islington Council

Date: June 2020

Case study ER8

ER9: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation – Ebbsfleet Decarbonisation Plan and Ebbsfleet Sustainable Performance Framework

To build on the Environmental Sustainability Framework delivered in 2021, the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) has produced the Ebbsfleet Decarbonisation Plan and Ebbsfleet Sustainable Performance Framework that create a roadmap to achieving net zero carbon upon completion.

The Ebbsfleet Decarbonisation Plan sets out actions across the Strategy, Buildings, Transport, Waste and Land use sectors. These actions are either led or supported by the EDC and some focus on continuing resident-led action to reach the goal of net zero by 2035. The Plan defines the scope of the carbon footprint, assesses current and future carbon emissions, tests strategies to meet the ambition, highlights key actions and provides a mechanism for tracking progress.

The Ebbsfleet Sustainable Performance Framework contains sustainable performance measures, and for each priority area, the framework sets out the vision, objectives and a best practice case study. The Framework identifies objectives and corresponding measures that the EDC will aim to meet to deliver on the overarching outcomes for environmental sustainability.

Link: Environmental & Sustainability  

Authors: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Date: August 2023

Case study ER9

Green infrastructure

GI1: Belfast City Council – climate mitigation and adaptation through large-scale tree planting

Belfast City Council has plans to plant 1 million native trees across Belfast by 2035 in order to reduce carbon dioxide levels, improve air quality, reduce flooding, increase urban cooling, support and enhance biodiversity, and improve the population’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Planners have advised on how to realise the multiple benefits of tree planting through the site identification assessment process – in line with both the council’s Green and Blue Infrastructure Plan, adopted in early 2020, and the emerging new planning policies in the council’s draft local development plan, which will see a significant focus on green and blue infrastructure as part of new development requirements.

Link: Belfast City Council – Belfast One Million Trees

Authors: Belfast City Council

Date: 2020

Case study GI1

GI2: Salford City Council – delivering multi-functional green infrastructure

Salford City Council have developed a policy to ensure that development will protect and enhance green infrastructure. It also ensures that the quality is maintained.

Policy GI1 Development and green infrastructure
Development shall protect and enhance the green infrastructure network in Salford by helping to maximise its:
1) Extent, whilst having regard to the development needs of the city;
2) Interconnectedness, enabling individual pieces of green infrastructure to deliver greater benefits through links to the wider network;
3) Multi-functionality, whilst not detracting from the important primary functions of individual pieces of green infrastructure;
4) Quality, ensuring that it can meet its various functions as effectively as possible.
In complying with the above points, developments shall:
5) Respond to the specific location, characteristics and surroundings of the site to take opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure that can most effectively benefit the wider area, for example providing sustainable urban drainage systems that address identified problems such as flood risk and water quality, and deliver environmental and quality of life benefits

Link: Publication Salford Local Plan: Development Management Policies and Designations. Salford City Council, January 2020.  

Authors: Salford City Council

Date: January 2020

Case study GI2

GI3: Cornwall Design Guide- new development led by green infrastructure

Cornwall Council’s Design Guide emphasises the importance of creating high quality developments that are affordable for a Cornish income. Green infrastructure is identified as fundamental to this approach, as green spaces are shown to promote resident wellbeing while improving overall quality of life. The Resilient Places section of this guide outlines the importance of adapting to climate change, such as expecting that buildings will be designed to be flood resilient and incorporate natural ventilation to prevent overheating. 

Link: Design – Cornwall Council

Authors: Cornwall Council

Date: December 2021

Case study GI3

GI4: City of London Corporation- ‘Cool Streets and Greening’ programme

The City of London Corporation is taking action to tackle the risks of climate change through green infrastructure with measures to cool the urban realm and enhance biodiversity. The ‘Cool Streets and Greening’ programme is being delivered as part of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy (2020-2027).

The first phase of this programme identified measures to address climate risk for the Square Mile’s open spaces and streets. These projects centre around sustainable drainage and climate resilient planting across different sites in the City. The programme’s later phases will monitor these measures and expand them to new areas.


Authors: City of London Corporation

Date: February 2022

Case study GI4

GI5: Soils in Planning and Construction Task Force: report on sustainably managing soil

Several industry and local authority partners have collaborated to create the Soils in Planning and Construction Task Force. The task force has released a report that highlights the importance of sustainably managing soil, as it plays a major role in our environment such as by supporting green infrastructure, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration.  The report provides information for a range of audiences including planners on how to better protect soils and maintain this non-renewable resource.

UK policy and guidance on soil management is outlined in this report, both on national and local levels. The barriers to improving soil sustainability are also identified. These are broken down into 3 key issues: soil is not understood/valued, lack of data and time/space constraints. The report then outlines measures to help overcome these barriers. 

To address these issues, the report recommends that local planning authorities create a specific soil policy in new local development plan documents that explains the importance of soil functions and ensures soil is protected during construction. It also recommends the use of standard planning conditions for soil protection. This would include the requirement of a soil survey and soil management plan along with a method statement prior to the commencement of works. This would also necessitate evidence of good practice for soil management that is showcased in both the construction and monitoring phases of the project. The Soils in Planning and Construction Task Force meets regularly and welcomes new members. Please contact the Task Force via the website. 

Link: Soils in Planning and Construction Task Force

Authors: Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Cornwall County Council, JTP, Farrer Huxley, The Landscape Institute

Date: September 2022

Case study GI5

GI6: Birmingham City Council: Measuring Environmental Justice

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe with 1.1 million residents; and it is also the first UK local authority to develop a measure for Environmental Justice. It draws upon concepts of Environmental Justice in other parts of the world- such as Berlin, Germany and Virginia, USA to create framework that is applicable to the Birmingham. It uses predominantly open-source data to measure the following indicators:

  • Access to a green space (of 2 hectares or larger) within 1 km
  • Flood Risk
  • Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Excess Years of Life Lost
  • Indices of Multiple Deprivation

For each indicator, a score is calculated, and ArcGIS is used to spatially analyse the data. The higher the score, the worse the Environmental Justice Index is for that area.


Authors: Birmingham City Council

Date: November 2023

Contact: Humera Sultan, Consultant in Public Health (Birmingham City Council) and NIHR Fellow (University of Birmingham)

Case study GI6

GI7: Essex County Council – Green Infrastructure Standards Guide

Essex County Council, in collaboration with other partners such as Natural England, Northumbria University and the Environment Agency, has created a Green Infrastructure Standards guide to help deliver better green infrastructure across the county. It comprises both technical and non-technical guidance, the former targeting built environment professionals (including Local Planning Authorities) and the latter aimed at policymakers and community groups. The standards are designed to help with policy and strategy writing, master-planning, design, and implementation of developments.

The principles reflect key policy documents such as the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Environment Act (2021) and the NPPF. It aligns with the National Green Infrastructure Framework. The Essex GI standards strengthen green infrastructure policy and delivery in new developments.

The Green Infrastructure Principles and associated Standards can be found in the table below:

The guidance explains why each principle matters and how they can be met. The aim is to ensure that green infrastructure becomes an integral part of the day-to-day decision making for Essex’s towns and cities, including in other key sectors and services such as health and wellbeing. In 2023, the guidance was awarded Building with Nature Policy accreditation.



Essex County Council, Building with Nature, Essex Planning Officer Association, Essex Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England, Northumbria University, RSPB, Tree Council, University of East Anglia, Wilderness Foundation.

Date: 2022

Case study GI7

Climate change adaptation

CA1: Camden Council – making buildings resilient to climate change

Camden Council created policy to ensure that new developments are designed to be resilient climate change and adopt the climate change measures as outlined in Policy CC2.

Policy CC2: Adapting to climate change
The Council will require development to be resilient to climate change. All development should adopt appropriate climate change adaptation measures such as:
a. the protection of existing green spaces and promoting new appropriate green infrastructure;
b. not increasing, and wherever possible reducing, surface water run-off through increasing permeable surfaces and use of Sustainable Drainage Systems;
c. incorporating bio-diverse roofs, combination green and blue roofs and green walls where appropriate; and
d. measures to reduce the impact of urban and dwelling overheating, including application of the cooling hierarchy.
Any development involving 5 or more residential units or 500 sqm or more of any additional floorspace is required to demonstrate the above in a Sustainability Statement.

Sustainable design and construction measures
The Council will promote and measure sustainable design and construction by:
e. ensuring development schemes demonstrate how adaptation measures and sustainable development principles have been incorporated into the design and proposed implementation;
f. encourage new build residential development to use the Home Quality Mark and Passivhaus design standards;
g. encouraging conversions and extensions of 500 sqm of residential floorspace or above or five or more dwellings to achieve ‘excellent’ in BREEAM domestic refurbishment; and
h. expecting non-domestic developments of 500 sqm of floorspace or above to achieve ‘excellent’ in BREEAM assessments and encouraging zero carbon in new development from 2019.

Link: Camden Local Plan. July 2017.

Authors: Camden Council

Date: July 2017

Case study CA1

CA2: Dorset County Council – supporting the relocation of existing development at risk from flooding through the local development plan

Policy ENV17, ‘Replacement or relocation of existing development in Coastal Change Management Areas’, outlines a set of criteria that must be met by proposals for the relocation of existing development from within a Coastal Change Management Area to an area of reduced flood risk.

ENV13: Flood risk
…V. The council will support the relocation of existing highly vulnerable development and essential infrastructure on land at risk from flooding provided:
• the existing development is lawful;
• the site for relocation is at a lower flood risk;
• the size of any replacement buildings or the application site are not materially larger than the existing buildings or site;
• the type, scale and location of the replacement development is consistent with relevant planning policies; and
• the applicant provides for the suitable restoration of the existing site.

Link: Dorset Council Local Plan Consultation, January 2021.

Authors Dorset County Council

Date: January 2021

Case study CA2

CA3: Greater Cambridge – development design

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning has included policy to address the impacts of climate change on development design. This policy sets out a cooling hierarchy, overheating and flood risk guidance for development. It also encourages the use of guidance by Good Homes Alliance to mitigate overheating risks in new homes.

Policy CC/DC: Designing for a changing climate
What will this policy do?
This policy will set out how the design of developments should take account of our changing climate, for example extreme weather events such as heat waves and flash flooding.

Proposed policy direction
 All new dwellings must be designed to achieve a low overheating risk using the Good Homes Alliance Overheating in New Homes Tool and Guidance, with more detailed modelling required for schemes identified as being ‘at risk’, using future climate scenarios such as those provided by 2050 Prometheus weather data for Cambridge. All non-domestic buildings must be designed to achieve a low overheating risk using the cooling hierarchy, with more detailed modelling required for major developments using future climate scenarios such as those provided by 2050 Prometheus weather data for Cambridge. All developments should take a design led approach to climate change adaptation with approaches integrated into architectural design..

Link Greater Cambridge Local Plan – First Proposals, August 2021.  

Authors Greater Cambridge Shared Planning

Date: August 2021

Case study CA3

CA4: Eastleigh Borough Council – ensuring that homes are designed with overheating in mind

To ensure that new homes are developed to account for the impacts of climate change, Eastleigh Borough Council have developed policy where new development must have a cooling strategy.

Policy DM3: Adaptation to climate change
All development should be designed to adapt to the predicted climate change impacts for the Borough.

 b) New development should have a cooling strategy which can include:
 i. cooling through generous green infrastructure and trees
ii. areas of shade
iii. water cooling
iv. building design and orientation to reduce overheating
 v. ‘cool roofs’ or green roofs and green walls
vi. porous cool pavements

Link: Eastleigh Borough Local Plan 2016-2036, Adopted April 2022.

Authors: Eastleigh Borough Council

Date: December 2017

Case study CA4

CA5: Sustainability West Midlands – implementing climate change adaption measure

The West Midlands Climate Change Adaption Plan (2021-2026) identifies 43 climate related risks to the region and 76 actions to address them. The plan is intended to act as a catalyst for action on climate adaptation, in light of increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events anticipated as a result of climate change.  It provides decision makers, senior leaders and funders with a framework to help them invest in adaptation solutions in the right places, and helps to guide the responses that are likely to be required to ensure that the natural environment, people, infrastructure, buildings and businesses are prepared for the impacts of climate change, including greater incidence and severity of flooding, a higher likelihood of water scarcity and more intense and prolonged heatwaves.

Climate Adaptation Plans can provide useful local evidence to inform planning, for example by identifying climate related risks and adaptation actions that can be addressed through the planning system.   

This work was led by Sustainability West Midlands, working with a range of partners including the Environment Agency. The adaptation plan has been followed up with further reports including:

  • Weathering the Storm, a guide to help small businesses in the West Midlands understand how they could be affected by changes in weather patterns.
  • A suite of case studies for local authorities, highlighting what good practice climate change adaptation looks like in practice.  
  • Local Authority Sustainability Benchmark results, showing how the region’s councils are performing on sustainability matters.

Links: West Midlands Climate Change Adaption Plan (2021-2026), November 2021 and SWM Reports – Sustainability West Midlands

Authors: Sustainability West Midlands in association with the Environment Agency

Date: November 2021

Case study CA5

CA6: Cornwall Council – Making Space for Sand: Cornwall’s coastal resilience project

This DEFRA funded project is looking to improve the condition and management of Cornwall’s costal sand dune systems. 40 dunes across the Cornish coastline have been identified as having sustainability issues and will be assessed. The project will:

  • Analyse information and model the future of dune systems due to factors pertaining to climate change (such as sea level rise).
  • Provide a “State of the Dunes” report for Cornwall.
  • Engage with communities and provide support to communities to create Coastal Change Management Plans.


Authors: Run by Cornwall Council and in partnership with:

  • University of Plymouth
  • Plymouth Coastal Observatory
  • Cornwall Wildlife Trust
  • Environment Agency
  • Natural England

Date: Ongoing

Case study CA6

CA7: Cornwall Council -improving energy efficiency in historic Cornish buildings

This report provides guidance for local authority staff, professionals, contractors and building owners to upgrade the energy efficiency of historic buildings while retaining its character. There is information on how climate change has impacted Cornwall’s historic buildings along with methods to reduce energy consumption, utilise sustainable materials and acquire funding to make these upgrades. The guide also includes local good practice examples and information on costs and performance of suitable products.

The guide was approved by Cornwall Council as a material consideration for land use planning purposes.

Link: Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Cornish Buildings, June 2014

Authors: Cornwall Council

Date: June 2014

Case study CA7

CA8: Bristol City Council – Keep Bristol Cool mapping tool

This map has been created to depict the urban heat risks for the city of Bristol. The Bristol Heat Vulnerability Index shows how risks of urban heating are varied across the city and shows where communities are more vulnerable. The map also shows how climate change may change trends in coming decades.  

This allows users to explore different heat related risks using the visual data displayed on the map to quantify climate risks. This tool enables decision makers to plan and direct resilience measures for future climate related risks such as heatwaves by analysing their potential geo-spatial impact.

Link: Mapping tool

Authors: The mapping tool is a collaboration between Bristol City Council, the UK Climate Resilience Programme, the Tyndall Centre and Met Office Urban Climate Service team.

Date: August 2022

Case study CA8

CA9: Climate Ready Clyde – Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan

The Glasgow City region have developed a climate adaptation strategy which aims to build social, economic and environmental resilience. The strategy has been developed by eight authorities working together, which reflects a strategic spatial approach to understanding key climate risks and vulnerabilities.

The plan identifies 11 areas of intervention which have been informed by a climate risk and opportunity assessment and cover areas including finance, governance, preparedness and nature-based solutions. It supports a stronger focus on adaptation through the planning system and also highlights areas where there are synergies with existing plans and objectives including:

  • creating 20-minute neighbourhoods;
  • regeneration of town centres and brownfield land;
  • low and zero carbon design and energy efficiency;
  • woodland creation and expansion;
  • enhancing open spaces, green infrastructure and biodiversity; and
  • protecting peatland and carbon rich soils.

Link: Climate Ready Clyde (2021) Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan 2020–2030: Choosing to flourish in our future climate

Authors: Climate Ready Clyde

Date: June 2021

Case study CA9

Sustainable design

SD1: Watford Borough Council – sustainable construction

Watford Borough Council have included a policy in their local plan to ensure that new developments utilise sustainable constriction resources and materials.

Policy CC8.2: Sustainable Construction Standards for Non-residential Development
Proposals should be designed to reduce their impact on the environment and create high-quality internal and external space for people to use. Proposals will be supported where it is demonstrated that resources will be used efficiently as part of the construction and operation of a building. This includes appropriate use of technologies, building design and layout, while taking into consideration the effects of climate change. To achieve this, non-residential major developments should aim to achieve BREEAM excellent standard.
The submission of a Compliance Certificate to the Local Planning Authority upon completion will be secured through planning conditions.

Link: Final draft Watford Local Plan 2018-2036. Consultation version (2021).

Authors: Watford Borough Council

Date: October 2022

Case study SD1

SD2: Harlow and Gilston Garden Town – Sustainability Guide and Checklist

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will comprise new and existing communities in the area of Harlow. A partnership of three districts and two county councils are working together to ensure plans for the Garden Town support sustainable living. They have produced accessible guidance to promote sustainable development.

This document provides holistic sustainability guidance to be used during the early stages of the development process. The guidance helps applicants develop proposals that will meet the Garden Town goals of becoming net zero-carbon by 2030, and to build strong and integrated communities across new and existing places.

It is split into two sections, environmental sustainability and socio-economic sustainability, with key themes relating to each sub-section. The Healthy Garden Town framework, created by the TCPA, is also referenced. Detailed and interactive checklists are provided for all sub-sections to ensure ease of use. This document was an finalist in the National Urban Design Awards 2021, in the Policy, Strategy and Design Guidance category.

Link: Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Sustainability Guide and Checklist, March 2021

Authors: Harlow and Gilston Garden Town

Date: March 2021

Case study SD2

SD3: Reading Brough Council – Sustainable Design and Construction Policy

The Reading Borough Local Plan includes expectations for sustainable design and construction. The approach looks to the recognised BREAAM standards, and requires that development uses resources efficiently and takes account of climate change. The specific requirements are below:

Link: Reading Borough Local Plan, November 2019

Authors: Reading Borough Council

Date: November 2019

Case study SD3

SD4: Southampton City Council – Green Space Factor

As a commitment to green spaces and the many benefits related to the presence of vegetation in the city, Southampton City Council has developed a local Green Space Factor (GSF) for new development. It is used to assess different types of surfaces based on their infiltration potential, allocating a score between 0 and 1, and acting as a proxy for ecosystem services provided by these surfaces. It evaluates the surfaces’ capacity to provide essential benefit to the urban environment, such as surface water and air quality management, evaporative cooling, and biodiversity.

For example, impermeable surfaces such as building surface area with no green roof will receive a score of 0, whereas surfaces with the highest green space factor like trees on deeper soil will score 1.

The Green Space Factor Guidance provides detail about how to use the tool as part of the sustainability checklist for development, in order to demonstrate compliance with the Southampton Core Strategy Policy CS20 on tackling and adapting to climate change. The Council is currently (2024) updating the tool to reflect the latest evidence and national guidance.



Southampton City Council

Date: 2015

Case study SD4

SD5: Architecture and Design Scotland – Designing for a Changing Climate 

Architecture and Design Scotland conducted a year-long exploration into designing for a changing climate. The exploration aimed at looking at a whole place approach to the net zero carbon challenge by rethinking a range of aspects of urban, and non-urban life, from transport to design, including ideas of self-sufficiency. The Design for a Changing Climate report thus considers different ways to address all scopes of carbon emissions and climate change adaptation. The experience and learnings of four local authorities on the development and delivery of local spatial plans have participated in the identification of eight interconnected principles for designing a carbon conscious place. They outline important concepts to consider when planning and developing places. These principles are: 

  • A Place-Led Approach (working with the place’s assets, landscape, and identity), 
  • A Place of Small Distances (e.g. 15-minute place concept), 
  • A Network of Small Distance Places (connecting complete neighbourhoods), 
  • A Place Designed for and with Local People (people’s needs at the centre of decision-making), 
  • A Place that Reuses, Repurposes and Considers Whole Life Costs (considering costs of the entire lifecycle of a structure), 
  • A Place with Whole and Circular Systems (joining up different systems which support a healthy, carbon conscious place), 
  • A Place that Supports Sharing (supporting the sharing of assets and services), and 
  • A Place Designed in Time (place planning and delivery process to consider the dimension of time). 

The report aims to guide and inspire communities to support a whole place approach to responding to climate change and associated carbon targets, through examples and illustrations of the above principles in multiple context and scenarios.  



Architecture and Design Scotland, funded by Scottish Government 

Date: 2020 


Net zero buildings

NZB1: Cornwall Council – a new policy approach for net zero

Cornwall Council have developed a policy approach that requires proposals to demonstrate how they will achieve net zero through energy efficiency and use of sustainable energy throughout their lifecycle. Examination hearings took place in June 2022, and was found sound (subject to modifications) in January 2023.

Policy SEC1 – Sustainable Energy and Construction
Development proposals will be required to demonstrate how they have implemented the principles and requirements set out in the policy below.
1 The Energy Hierarchy
All proposals should embed the Energy Hierarchy within the design of buildings by prioritising fabric first, orientation and landscaping in order to minimise energy demand for heating, lighting and cooling. All proposals should consider opportunities to provide solar PV and energy storage.

2b – New Development – Residential
Residential development proposals will be required to achieve Net Zero Carbon and submit an ‘Energy Statement’ that demonstrates how the proposal will achieve:
• Space heating demand less than 30kWh/m2 /annum;
• Total energy consumption less than 40kWh/m2 /annum; and
• On-site renewable generation to match the total energy consumption, with a preference for roof-mounted solar PV.

Where the use of onsite renewables to match total energy consumption is demonstrated to be not technically feasible (for example with apartments) or economically viable, renewable energy generation should be maximised as much as possible; and/or connection to an existing or proposed low carbon district energy network; or where this is not possible the residual carbon [MM49] energy (the amount by which total energy demand exceeds the renewable energy generation) is to be offset by a contribution to Cornwall Council’s Offset Fund.
Where economic viability or technical constraints prevent policy compliance, proposals should first and foremost strive to meet the space heating and total energy consumption thresholds. Proposals must then benefit as much as possible from renewable energy generation and/or connection to an existing or proposed low carbon district energy network.

As a last resort, any residual energy is to be offset by a contribution to Cornwall Council’s Offset Fund, as far as economic viability allows.

Link: Climate Emergency Development Plan Document (showing required modifications), February 2023

Authors: Cornwall Council

Date: February 2023

Case study NZB1

NZB2: Forest of Dean, Cotswold and West Oxfordshire District Councils – Net Zero Carbon Toolkit: how to achieve net zero homes

The Forest of Dean, Cotswold and West Oxfordshire District Councils collaborated to develop a toolkit to provide guidance for developing new homes and retrofit projects that are net zero carbon. It offers practical advice to ensure that the UK’s legally binding net zero target is achieved through the delivery of new homes.

The guide was produced with leading technical experts from Etude, the Passivhaus Trust, Levitt Bernstein and Elementa Consulting. It reflects up to date design approaches and good practice within the field of Net Zero buildings.

The toolkit is produced under a creative commons license, meaning that local authorities can use and adapt the toolkit to reflect local circumstances (as long as the toolkit is acknowledged).

Link: How to achieve net zero carbon homes, 2021

Authors: Forest of Dean, Cotswold and West Oxfordshire District Councils; Etude, the Passivhaus Trust, Levitt Bernstein and Elementa Consulting.

Date: October 2021

Case study NZB2

NZB3: Greater London Authority – the London Plan approach to embodied carbon

The Greater London Authority (GLA) are implementing an approach to whole life carbon, which is supported in policy in the London plan. The policy criteria (part F of Policy SI2: Minimising Greenhouse Gas Emissions) recognises that a large proportion of a buildings carbon impact arises from the constructions and materials (its embodied energy). A whole life carbon approach considers the embodied energy and operational energy, including emissions associated with appliances used within the building (known as unregulated emissions).  

The GLA is working on further guidance for applications on the approach to whole life carbon assessments.

Link: The London Plan, 2021

Authors: Greater London Authority

Date: March 2021

Case study NZB3

NZB4: Net Zero New Buildings, Evidence and guidance to inform Planning Policy – West of England Combined Authority

This document was collated by the South West Energy Hub (now called the South West Net Zero Hub) to provide an overview of the context and opportunities for embedding net zero building policies in local plans in the West of England region.

The report draws on key evidence, the policy and legislative context and best practice to draw together recommendations to steer net zero building policy and pull together the key considerations for successful policy implementation.

Link: Net Zero New Buildings: Evidence and guidance to inform planning policy

Authors: South West Energy Hub for the West of England Combined Authority

Date: December 2021

Case study NZB4

NZB5: The Ivers Parish Council, Buckinghamshire- Neighbourhood Planning

In Buckinghamshire, The Ivers Parish Council developed a Neighbourhood Plan to protect and enhance its character and natural environment while also promoting sustainable development. To achieve an improvement in energy efficiency, the Plan includes policy IV14 PassivHaus Buildings that seeks to incentivise buildings to meet the Passivhaus, or equivalent, standard.

Policy IV14: PassivHaus Buildings
A. All developments should be ‘zero carbon ready’ by design to minimise the amount of energy needed to heat and cool buildings through landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping.

B. Wherever feasible, all buildings should be certified to a Passivhaus or equivalent standard with a space heating demand of less than 15KWh/m2/year. Where schemes that maximise their potential to meet this standard by proposing the use of terraced and/or apartment building forms of plot size, plot coverage and layout that are different to those of the character area within which the proposal is located, this will be supported, provided it can be demonstrated that the scheme will not have a significant harmful effect on the character area.

C. All planning permissions granted for new and refurbished buildings should demonstrate that they have been tested to ensure the buildings will perform as predicted and will include a planning condition to require the provision of a Post Occupancy Evaluation Report to the Local Planning Authority within a specified period, unless exempted by Clause B. Where the Report identifies poor energy performance and makes recommendations for reasonable corrective action, the applicant must demonstrate that those actions have been implemented before the condition will be discharged.

D. All planning applications for major development are also required to be accompanied by a Whole Life-Cycle Carbon Emission Assessment, using a recognised methodology, to demonstrate actions taken to reduce embodied carbon resulting from the construction and use of the building over its entire life.

E. An Energy Statement will be submitted to demonstrate compliance with the policy (except for householder applications). The statement will include a passive design capacity assessment to demonstrate how opportunities to reduce the energy use intensity (EUI) of buildings over the plan period have been maximised in accordance with the energy hierarchy. Designers shall evaluate the operational energy use using realistic information on the intended use, occupancy and operation of the building to minimise any performance gap.

Link: The Ivers Neighbourhood Plan 2021 – 2040

Authors: The Ivers Neighbourhood Planning Committee

Date: October 2022

Case study NZB5

NZB6: Bioregional – Tool to help councils model the carbon impact of new homes 

Bioregional’s Net Zero Carbon Spatial Planning Tool helps local authorities to identify the lowest-carbon spatial options for new development, by creating a model of the embodied and operational carbon footprint that would be generated by these developments and associated ‘in-use’ transport emissions, depending on their location and the policies applied to them. The outputs also reflect grid decarbonisation and EV uptake forecasts, enabling view of the total amount of carbon across the plan period. The tool has been used to inform local plans including in Central Lincolnshire and Greater Cambridgeshire. 

The tool’s special value is that it reveals the difference in carbon emissions resulting from choices about where to allow growth. The clear graphics that accompany the analysis make it easy for stakeholders and decision-makers to see the carbon impacts of different scenarios. Local planning authorities are empowered by the tool to make quantified data-driven decisions towards their legal duty to mitigate climate change, rather than having to rely on generalisations without view of the scale of difference between different locations in terms of car use and form of development.

Bioregional has secured further funding to for the next iteration of the tool, which will consist of combining Bioregional’s spatial carbon mapping with Space Syntax’s Walkability Index. The improved model will allow local authorities to use improved spatial data science in the development of their net-zero Local Plans and in reducing overall the carbon emissions generated by the future population of the UK. The project will transform the existing tool into an interactive dashboard for local authorities and potentially later, for private developers, that will allow them to model the carbon implications of all new development even more accurately.




Date: January 2024

Case study NZB6

Sustainable transport

ST1: Brighton & Hove City Council – promoting active travel

To enable Brighton & Hove City Council to promote active travel, local plan policy states the council’s intention to prioritise active travel in the city. This includes supporting the objectives in the Local Transport Plan and ensuring that new development is designed to be accessible and promote active travel.

DM33 Safe, Sustainable and Active Travel

The council will promote and provide for the use of sustainable transport and active travel by prioritising walking, cycling and public transport in the city. This will support the objectives, projects and programmes set out in the Local Transport Plan and other strategy and policy documents. New developments should be designed in a way that is safe and accessible for all users, and encourages the greatest possible use of sustainable and active forms of travel.”

Link: City Plan Part 2, October 2022.

Authors: Brighton & Hove City Council

Date: October 2022

Case study ST1

ST2: Glasgow City Council– expanding the cycle network

Glasgow’s South City Way project will extend the city’s cycle network, which aims to provide cycle infrastructure and safer, more comfortable and easier cycling routes for people with all levels of experience. The new route will redevelop Victoria Road to prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport

Link: South City Way expansion of Glasgow’s cycle network

Authors: Glasgow City Council

Date: August 2016

Case study ST2

ST3: Watford Borough Council – cycle parking and storage

To encourage active travel, Watford Borough Council have included policy in their local plan that requires all new development proposals to include on-site cycle parking facilities.

Policy ST11.4: A Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Improvement Town
Cycle parking: All development proposals will be required to provide on-site cycle parking facilities in line with the cycle parking standards detailed in Appendix D. Secure cycle parking facilities should be designed at the outset of the scheme.

Link: Final draft Watford Local Plan 2018-2036. Consultation version (2021).

Authors: Watford Borough Council

Date: 2021

Case study ST3

ST4: Leeds City Council – setting requirements for charging electric vehicles

Leeds City Council have created policy so all new developments that include parking spaces must meet the minimum standard of electric vehicle charging points. This is outlined in detail below.

Policy EN8: Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
All applications for new development which include provision of parking spaces will be required to meet the minimum standard of provision of electric vehicle charging points. This requires:
i) Residential: 1 charging point per parking space and 1 charging point per 10 visitor spaces
ii) Office/Retail/Industrial/Education: charging points for 10% of parking spaces ensuring that electricity infrastructure is sufficient to enable further points to be added at a later stage
iii) Motorway Service Stations: charging points for 10% of parking spaces ensuring that electricity infrastructure is sufficient to enable further points to be added at a later stage
iv) Petrol Filling Stations: provision of fast charge facilities.

Link: Core Strategy (as amended by the Core Strategy Selective Review 2019), Leeds Local Plan.

Authors: Leeds City Council

Date: September 2019

Case study ST4

ST5: Greater Cambridge Local Plan – using modelling to assess carbon impacts of spatial options 

Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working together to create a joint Local Plan, which has the reduction of carbon emissions at the heart of its vision.

As part of the initial evidence base findings, modelling of the carbon impact of growth and spatial options under consideration was undertaken. This has helped to inform choices at an early stage of plan making, ensuring that the carbon impacts of spatial and policy options are understood from the outset.

The report considers three sources of emissions:

  • building construction materials and processes (embodied upfront carbon);
  • building heating and electricity usage (operational carbon); and
  • occupant and visitor transport (transport carbon).

The model also considers the implications of policies to reduce carbon emissions and demonstrates that zero carbon policies result in major reductions to total plan period carbon emissions for all options and growth levels, providing a useful evidence base to support net zero carbon policies.

Link: Greater Cambridge Local Plan – Strategic spatial options appraisal: implications for carbon emissions.  

Authors: Bioregional, on behalf of Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Authority

Date: November 2020

Case study ST5

ST6: Salford City Council Local Plan – EV charging policy

Salford City Council included a policy on Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points in their local plan, so that new development would support the development of a network of EV infrastructure.

Policy A10 Electric vehicle charging points (excerpt below taken from the post-examination plan with modifications).
New development shall make provision for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, using dedicated charge points specifically designed for charging all types of electric vehicle, in accordance with the following standards (unless superseded by higher standards in the Building Regulations):
For dwellings with off street parking, at least one dedicated charge point per dwelling
For non-residential developments, 10% of spaces shall accommodate a dedicated charge point. In addition to this, 20% of spaces shall accommodate appropriate ducting infrastructure to facilitate future provision. A reduced requirement will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the specific characteristics of development would result in lower levels of demand for electric vehicle charging.

Link: Salford Local Plan (post-submission)

Authors: Salford City Council

Date: May 2022 (Composite Plan, post-submission)

Case study ST6

ST7: Oxfordshire County Council – Local Transport and Connectivity Plan 2022-2050

This plan was created by Oxfordshire County Council and adopted in July 2022 as the statutory Local Transport Plan. The plan was developed in three stages, all of which allowed for community engagement through consultations. The overall goals of the plan are to reduce the need to travel, discourage private vehicle journeys and encouraging active transport. Targets were created to track the progress of the plan and include the below:

  • Replace or remove 1 in 4 car trips by 2030
  • deliver a net-zero transport network by 2040
  • achieve zero, or as close as possible, road fatalities or life-changing injuries by 2050.

The plan includes policies to achieve these targets by reducing the need to travel, discouraging individual private vehicle journeys and making walking, cycling, public and shared transport the natural first choice.

The policies have a strong inter-relationship with planning topics, ensuring that transport and planning priorities are aligned. These include seven policies on healthy place-shaping covering issues including healthy and safe streets (using the healthy streets approach), 20 minute neighbourhoods and integrated planning.

Link: Local Transport and Connectivity Plan 2022-2050

Authors: Oxfordshire County Council

Date: July 2022

Case study ST7

ST8: Surrey County Council – Local Transport Plan 4

Surrey County Council’s fourth local transport plan has a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions from transport to achieve the net zero by 2050 target. The plan contains a policy on demand managements for cars. Demand Management is the use of measures to reduce the convenience and / or increase the cost of private car use. The inclusion of a policy on demand management in local authority strategies and plans can help influence the creation of places that prioritise active travel, public transport and high quality placemaking (for example where cars and space for car parking are less dominant).  

Link: Transport Plan, 2022

Authors Surrey County Council

Date: July 2022

Case study ST8

ST9: Leeds City Council: Local Plan Update- Achieving 20 minute neighbourhoods in Leeds 

Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, with an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. To contribute to this aim, the Local Plan Update sought to review policies in relation to addressing the climate emergency. This includes policy areas covering carbon reduction, flood risk, green infrastructure, placemaking and infrastructure.  

As part of this work, Leeds City Council have included a policy on 20-minute neighbourhoods in the plan update. This is in recognition of the link between the principles of ‘living locally’ through creating well-serviced, safe, accessible, walkable neighbourhoods and reducing emissions and minimising flood risk.  

The policy draws on evidence to provide guidelines for the application of the policy (eg in relation to distance from amenities and average densities), whilst acknowledging differences in town centre, suburban and rural contexts. The key aim is to integrate key services and features into communities to allow people to live locally, and direct development to locations that offer the best opportunity for active travel, use of public transport and minimise use of private motor vehicles, which will help to minimise carbon emissions. 

To evidence the policy, Leeds City Council commissioned analysis of local accessibility, producing a heat map showing the walkability of neighbourhood areas. This analysis gives a score to authority areas which are classified in to four categories:  

  1. Walkable neighbourhoods 
  1. Good accessibility 
  1. Limited accessibility 
  1. Poor accessibility 

Links: Evidence Base and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods: Leeds City Council – Local Plan Update Consultation

Authors Leeds City Council

Date: October 2022 (Regulation 19 consultation)  

Case study ST9

Flood risk

FR1: Cardiff Council and partners – strong policy on sustainable drainage system design

The Greener Grangetown project uses the latest sustainable drainage systems techniques to catch, clean and divert rainwater directly into the River Taff, instead of pumping it for eight miles to a treatment works and then discharging it out to sea. In addition, it has delivered a host of other benefits for the local community, including 1600 square metres of new green space, the creation of Wales’ first ‘bicycle street’, increased biodiversity, and a community orchard. The project was set in motion by the 2018 update to Planning Policy Wales, but the collaborative approach between the local planning authority, Welsh Water, an engineering firm and the local community helped to progress and shape the final design.

Link: Greener Grangetown project

Authors: Cardiff Council, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water Natural Resources Wales and Landfill Communities Fund.

Date: October 2018

Case study FR1

FR2: Devon County Council – prioritising natural flood management approaches

The Devon Local Flood Risk Management Strategy actively promotes the use of natural flood management approaches ahead of traditional, hard-engineering flood defences:

“The effects of climate change, with more intense rainfall events are a growing concern and are considered for all flood risk management activity. This is particularly relevant for the reviewing of development proposals to ensure flood risk is not increased as a result. The use of sustainable drainage and natural flood management measures will be encouraged for all development and flood improvement works. […] Risk Management Authorities will promote natural flood management measures (where appropriate) in all flood investigations and improvement projects, either as sole measures or in combination with hard engineering solutions, including supporting NFM [natural flood management] initiatives throughout Devon.”

Link: Devon Local Flood Risk Management Strategy 2021-2027, August 2020.  

Authors: Devon County Council

Date: August 2020

Case study FR2

FR3: Harrogate Borough Council – ensuring that all new development includes sustainable drainage

To reduce flood risk, Harrogate Borough Council have introduced policy so all development must ensure there will be no increase in surface water flow rate run off. This policy encourages the use of sustainable drainage systems (SuDs).

Policy CC1: Flood Risk and Sustainable Drainage
…All development will be required to ensure that there is no increase in surface water flow rate run off. Priority should be given to incorporating sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to manage surface water drainage, unless it is proven that SuDS are not appropriate. Where SuDs are provided arrangements must be put in place for their whole life management and maintenance…

Link: Harrogate District Local Plan 2014-2035, March 2020.

Authors: Harrogate Borough Council

Date: March 2020

Case study FR3

FR4: Environment Agency- Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme

The Environment Agency has invested £200 million pounds in 25 projects in England to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to resilience and climate change adaptation. The projects include town-wide investment in SuDS to reduce surface water flooding, implementation of nature based solutions, and property flood resilience measures. One of the projects objectives is to broaden the range of available resilience actions and providing more evidence and cost-benefit understanding to inform approaches to adaptation and resilience elsewhere.

Link: Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme

Authors: Environment Agency (lead)

Date: March 2021

Case study FR4

FR5: Sheffield – Grey to Green scheme

The Grey to Green scheme in Sheffield is the largest retrofit sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) project in the UK, and creates the largest inner city ‘Green Street’ covering a distance of1.6km. The scheme is an example of best practice with its innovative drainage system that reconnects this part of Sheffield to the rivers on which it is built, flowing rainwater back to them in a way that seeks to mimic nature, with cleanliness, slowness, and sustainability in mind. It thus aims to reduce and slow down surface water runoff through the installation of planting beds, which prevents the equivalent of 24,000 bathtubs of water from entering Sheffield’s sewage treatment system. The project contributes to protecting the area from recurrent flooding of the River Don.

Associated benefits of the project are an increase in urban biodiversity, helping nature thrive by creating a sustainable natural environment in the heart of the city, with multi-layered planting and safe wildlife green routes; the protection of pedestrians and cyclist from air-pollution; urban cooling, and overall promotion of health and wellbeing.  

 Before the project

 After the project



Sheffield Council


2014 to 2022

Case study FR5

Community engagement

CE1: Bristol Community Land Trust – Merry Hill community led development

Merry Hill is a community development where the land was transferred from Bristol City Council to Bristol Community Land Trust to build a development of energy efficient homes. The land was previously unusable and was comprised of numerous overgrown allotments. It has since been sustainably transformed by the local community working in partnership with Brighter Places housing association. Residents were involved in all aspects of the design and were integral to the energy efficient and sustainable design of the scheme.

Key features include:

  • 100% ‘affordable’ mixed tenure of shared ownership and affordable rent
  • Built to ‘Passivhaus’ principles
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Roof-top solar PVs
  • ‘Self-finish’ enabling residents to tailor their kitchens, bathrooms and outside space
  • Priority given to local residents who are in housing need
  • Improved pedestrian & cycle access

Link: Merry Hill development

Authors: Brighter Places and Bristol Community Land Trust

Date: 2021

Case study CE1

CE2: Fressingfield Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group , Suffolk – neighbourhood planning for the climate emergency

Neighbourhood plans are powerful tools for shaping development at a local level, informed by engagement with the local community. The Fressingfield Neighbourhood Plan, adopted in March 2020, includes a climate change policy for non-residential buildings. This was informed by community engagement which revealed strong support for covering climate change in the scope of policy. The Fressingfield Neighbourhood Plan did not include policy on residential buildings as at the time it was understood that local policies could not exceed national standards, a position which has since changed due to changed national policy position.

Further guidance on how neighbourhood planning can help address climate change has been produced by the Centre for Sustainable Energy and can be found here.

Link: Fressingfield Neighbourhood Development Plan 2018 – 2036

Authors: Fressingfield Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Date: December 2019

Case study CE2

CE3: Bristol Green Capital Partnership – Community Climate Action Plans

Six community organisations in Bristol worked with their local communities to co-produce community led climate action plans throughout 2022. The plans provide a platform for the local community priorities to be front and centre in Bristol’s response to climate action, and have successfully leveraged funding to support implementation of the plans.

The community led approach has provided a platform for diverse communities to be involved in shaping their local neighbourhoods, and is a great example of the power and knowledge in communities to understand and respond to the complex challenges of addressing climate change.

Link: Bristol’s first Community Climate Action Plans launched

Authors: Bristol Green Capital Partnership

Date: March 2022

Case Study CE3

CE4: Architecture and Design Scotland – The Climate Action Towns Toolkit 

The Climate Action Towns (CAT) project started in 2021, developed by Architecture and Design Scotland, the Scottish design agency for place. The motivation behind the project was to work with communities and other stakeholders to identify ways of embedding climate actions in their towns and create engagement around these actions. Each action, ranging from the installation of a seed library to the creation of community energy schemes, as designed to respond specifically to the needs of local places and communities. It was necessary to understand each town’s capacity and appetite for climate action, which was facilitated through creative approaches to deliver workshops and learn from community groups and partners. The primary aim of the Climate Action Towns was to enable community-led climate action in place. 

The CAT Toolkit breaks down the tools used throughout the project in order to make it manageable and repeatable in other towns. The toolkit goes through five interconnected key ingredients to taking climate action and the associated tools to do so. The ingredients are: 

  • Getting started, finding collaborators 
  • Understanding climate risks in the place 
  • Understanding community capacity 
  • Developing ideas for action 
  • Making climate action happen. 

To understand how the tools and techniques have been applied in practice, the Learning from the Climate Action Towns report provides more detail on the nine case studies, bringing concrete examples of community engagement in climate change action.  



Architecture and Design Scotland, funded by Scottish Government.  

Date: 2024