Net Zero Carbon Development Plan
1. The Local Context
1.1 Warwick District Council's Climate Change Commitments
1.1.1 On 27 June 2019 Members of Warwick District Council (WDC) unanimously declared a climate emergency, issuing the following statement:
"In October 2018, the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on climate change issued a special report on the state of global warming, which warned of the rapid and far reaching consequences of over 1.5 °C of warming on all aspects of society. The Council recognises the importance of this report with the motion now adopted along with the following commitments.
- Becoming a net-zero carbon organisation, including contracted out services, by 2025.
- Facilitating decarbonisation by local businesses, other organisations and residents so that total carbon emissions within Warwick District are as close to zero as possible by 2030.
- Working with other local councils to lobby central government to help address the above points including by funding and changing regulation.
- Engaging with and listening to all relevant stakeholders including members of the Warwickshire Youth Parliament regarding approaches to tackling the climate emergency.
- Ensuring that tackling the Climate Emergency is central to the strategic business plan – both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.
- Producing within six months an action plan to implement these commitments."
1.1.2 Following this, the Council adopted a Climate Emergency Action Programme at its meeting in February 2020. The Action Programme included a strong recognition of the important influence of planning in tackling climate change including the following areas for possible action:
- Ensure that the planning system, led by the Local Plan, sets developments and land use standards aimed at reducing carbon emissions and building sustainable communities
- Develop and implement policies that will deliver improved net zero carbon building standards - subject to national policy
- Ensure carbon reduction features and BREEAM standards are included in major development schemes
1.1.3 The CEAP recognises the importance of the planning system in achieving its ambitions: "In the coming decade, Warwick will have to improve the efficiency of all its buildings to reduce the demand for energy. Low carbon and/or renewable heating, energy reduction and an increase in the adoption of energy efficiency technologies in both commercial and domestic buildings will be required." A key part of this is a proposal to "Develop and implement policies that will deliver improved net zero carbon building standards".
1.1.4 Recognising that the Council had declared a climate emergency, the preparation of a Climate Change Development Plan ahead of a Local Plan review was identified as an area for early priority focus when the Executive approved the year 1 priorities in December 2020. This was considered to be an important early element in enabling Warwick District to be a close as possible to net zero by 2030.
1.1.5 Development plan documents (DPDs) are the statutory elements of the Local Plan and as such this document provides new and extended policies to those found in the Local Plan with regard to climate change and sustainable buildings. This DPD outlines the issues we are facing in terms of climate change in order to facilitate delivery of the council's commitments outlined above.
1.2 About Warwick District
1.2.1 Warwick District lies between the city of Coventry to the north, rural parts of Solihull Metropolitan Borough to the north and west, Stratford-on-Avon District to the south and Rugby Borough to the east. It enjoys good links by rail to Birmingham and London. There are regionally significant road networks linking to the M40, A45 and A46 corridors within and adjacent to the district.
1.2.2 90% of the 137,700 residents (2011 Census) live in the main urban areas of Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, and Whitnash with the remaining 10% living in a number of relatively small villages. Updated estimates put the district's population at 143,753 in 2019.
1.2.3 Relative to the West Midlands as a whole, the district has a strong local economy, with a skilled population and higher than average levels of productivity and earnings.
1.2.4 The district's relative prosperity masks some significant areas of deprivation however.
1.2.5 Approximately 80% of the district's rural area lies within the West Midlands Green Belt, with only the area to the south of Warwick, Whitnash and Royal Leamington Spa lying outside it.
1.2.6 81% of total employment in the district is provided in the professional services, health and education sectors together with retailing and public administration. There are strong representations of companies dealing in computing, IT and communications technology and the gaming industry (2011 Employment Land Review).
1.2.7 Overall, it has been estimated that the District is responsible for 1,259,600 tonnes CO2e per year (based on 2017 Scatter figures). Of this around 40% of carbon emission arises from buildings (split evenly between residential buildings and institutional/commercial/industrial buildings).
1.2.8 'Carbon' is used in this DPD as a shorthand term for all greenhouse gases excluding water vapour (see Glossary for definitions of key terms). This will require the reduction of all greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide is the most prominent.