The 13 December 2023 WMS and local plan policy for net zero

A statement from the Town and Country Planning Association.

The TCPA shares the deep frustration of many local planning authorities about the complex and contradictory policy from national government on planning for net zero homes in England. National government appears determined to stifle the attempts of local authorities to take innovative action on climate change through the use of local plan policy to secure energy efficient, net zero new development.

The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) on ‘Planning – Local Energy Efficiency Standards Update’, published on 13 December 2023, seeks to curtail the use of policy approaches that use energy-based metrics, which are designed to achieve emissions reductions through securing fabric efficiency standards and highly energy efficient buildings.

Read the full response from the TCPA below, and scroll down for a short video response from the TCPA’s Director of Policy, Hugh Ellis.

Update (March 2024): Essex County Council have published open legal advice by Estelle Dehon KC at Cornerstone Barristers. The open advice document establishes the legal justification for requiring higher targets for energy performance standards for development than the national baseline and can be relied upon by local planning authorities in open fora, such as public inquiries and local plan examinations. 

A legal challenge has also been launched against the WMS by Rights: Community: Action, supported by the Good Law Project.

A short video statement from the TCPA’s Director of Policy, Hugh Ellis, in response to the 13 December 2023 WMS on local energy efficiency standards.