The Local Plan for the Broads: Issues and Options Consultation
13. Climate Change
13.1 Introduction | 13.2 Adaptation – climate change checklist | 13.3 Energy design of new buildings | 13.4 Electric vehicle charging points | 13.5 Source of heating | 13.6 Construction methods and materials used | 13.7 Additions to other policies | 13.8 Other climate change related issues/policies
The story of the Broads is inherently linked to our changing climate. The easterly, low-lying and coastal nature of the Broads’ landscape makes it particularly vulnerable to the predicted impacts of climate change and sea level rise, including coastal and river flooding.
At the same time, our wetland landscape has been steadily sequestering carbon since the end of the last ice age, and now stores the equivalent of an estimated 50,000,000 tonnes of CO2. In context, that is more CO2 than was released by all coal-burning power plants in the UK between 2015 and 2020.
The ‘Future Impacts of Climate Change ’ by Broadland Futures Initiative says the following about how the climate could change:
- Winters in 20 years’ time are expected to have 5-7% more rainfall, in 50 years’ time 7-15% more and, in 100 years’ time, 11-29% more than used to fall in winters between 1981 and 2000. Summers, on the other hand, will likely have 15-18% less rainfall in 20 years’ time, 20- 30% less in 50 years’ time and 27-51% less in 100 years’ time, compared with 1981-2000. It is possible that even greater changes in rainfall patterns could occur. However, even the minimum expected changes of 11% more rainfall in winter and 27% less rainfall in summer will require significant changes to how water is managed. For example, it is possible that river flows in winter will increase by 20%, whereas flows in summer will decrease by 40%, with implications for the likelihood of flooding and water available for irrigation, for example.
- Summer temperatures in 20 years’ time are expected to be 1.4-1.6oC higher, in 50 years’ time 1.6-3.3oC higher and, in 100 years’ time, average summer temperatures could be 1.9-7.5oC higher than they were in 1981-2000. Although some of these average increases may at first appear modest, hot spells where maximum daytime temperatures exceed 30°C for two or more consecutive days will increase, and later in this century could occur up to four times per year, rather than once every 4 years as used to happen between 1981 and 2000
We need to plan now for the changes ahead, such as wetter winters, drier and hotter summers, and more frequent extreme events like storms and heavy rainfall, to lessen negative impacts and make the best use of positive opportunities of the emerging green economy.
13.2 Adaptation – climate change checklist
One of the approaches to adapting to climate change, set out in the current Local Plan, is the requirement for applicants for some types of development to fill out a climate change checklist to show how they have considered and addressed the risks that climate change poses to their proposed development. We intend to roll forward the climate change checklist approach, with some amendments such as making the questions clearer.
13.3 Energy design of new buildings
Since June 2022, the Building Regulations have been changed so ‘CO2 emissions from new build homes must be around 30% lower than current standards and emissions from other new buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27%. It is not proposed to set a standard for energy design of new buildings in the new Local Plan for the Broads at this time.
13.4 Electric vehicle charging points
June 2022, the Building Regulations have been changed so new homes and buildings such as supermarkets and workplaces, as well as those undergoing major renovation, are required to install electric vehicle charge points. It is not proposed to set a standard for electric vehicle charging points in the new Local Plan for the Broads.
13.5 Source of heating
Some properties in the Broads are heated by oil. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that while domestic gas heating produces 3,900 tCO2e per year, oil heating produced almost four times that at 15,300tCO2e. The Committee on Climate Change Sixth Carbon Budget Report recommended that for a Balanced Pathway to Net-Zero, new boilers not on the gas grid – e.g. oil-fired boilers - should be low-carbon by 2028. For properties on the gas grid, the target date is 2033. In part this is due to gas boilers having a lower CO2 footprint per kilowatt hour of heat produced.
The new Local Plan could set out a preferred hierarchy in respect of energy. A similar approach is already taken in adopted policy DM2 in respect of wastewater treatment, which requires development to be connected to a foul sewer unless this is proven not to be feasible. The next option in the hierarchy is package treatment works with septic tanks as the least favourable option. So, there could be scope for a similar hierarchical approach, but for source of heating.
A source of heating hierarchy could be as follows. It may need to include being hydrogen ready or even biomass boilers.
- Heat pump and underfloor heating, powered by on-site solar and batteries;
- Heat pump and underfloor heating, powered by the electricity grid;
- Gas heating, but with the overall heating system ‘heat pump ready’ (larger radiators etc) and the gas boiler ‘hydrogen ready’;
- Oil Heating, but with the overall heating system ‘heat pump ready’ (larger radiators etc);
- Gas Heating with no adaptation of the system; and
- Oil Heating with no adaptation of the system
There could also be benefits in requiring new developments, including extensions, to be heat pump ready (noting the hierarchy set out above). This will reduce costs and resource consumption in the long term, and make it more affordable to then switch to a low carbon heating system such as a heat pump when gas and oil boilers cease to be available.
It should be noted that towards the end of 2021 there were some Government consultations on fossil fuel heating. It could be that, during the production of the Local Plan, national standards are set:
- Phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating systems in businesses and public buildings off the gas grid - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Future support for low carbon heat - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
13.6 Construction methods and materials used
Different materials have different embodied carbon; this makes some building materials more sustainable than others. The useful database on the embodied carbon of building materials sets out the embodied carbon of building materials. There is potential to require applicants to set out a schedule of materials used and the embodied carbon, and state how they have chosen materials with less impact/embodied carbon. We would need to consider and balance any issues with design of new build.
13.7 Additions to other policies
The following topic areas could be incorporated into existing policies.
- Encouraging retrofit over re-build – the re-use and improvements to buildings could be included in DM40 and DM48.
- Greywater recycling – this could be referenced stronger in our policy on water quality (DM2) and SuDS (DM6)
- Design – how sun hits building, orientation, making the most of heat from the sun could be referenced stronger in the design policy (DM43)
13.8 Other climate change related issues/policies
If you have any other ideas to mitigate or adapt to climate change, please let us know. Please include evidence and also references if the approaches you suggest have been used elsewhere.
8 - An extrapolation from the carbon stocks reported in the Queen Mary University of London Study. Assessing carbon stocks within the peat of the Broads National Park (broads-authority.gov.uk)
9 - The Future Impacts of Climate Change (broads-authority.gov.uk)
10 - New homes to produce nearly a third less carbon - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
11 - https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget page 110-112.
12 - Enabling or requiring hydrogen-ready industrial boiler equipment: call for evidence - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
13 - The figures are “Cradle to Gate” so does not include transport to the consumer, and the eventual disposal of the material.