BNES Local Plan Partial Update

Council adopts ground-breaking planning framework

Good Homes Alliance welcomes the announcement that Bath and North East Somerset has become the first council in England to successfully adopt an energy-based net zero housing policy as part of its commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The new housing development policy will ensure the energy use of any proposed development is measured and meets a specified target — setting a limit on the total energy use and demand for space heating. It will also require sufficient on-site renewable energy generation to match the total energy consumption of the buildings — ensuring the development is 100% self-sufficient.

New policies will also address building emissions such as a policy to limit carbon emissions resulting from the materials used in the construction of large-scale developments. These ‘upfront’ embodied carbon emissions will be limited to 900kgCO2e/m2.

The council will also impose net zero operational carbon standards for new major non-residential development.

The ground-breaking move follows the approval at a special meeting of Council yesterday (January 19) where The Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU), which updates parts of the current Local Plan to better address council priorities including the climate and ecological emergencies, was adopted.

The Local Plan sets out the basis for decision making on development and the use of land that requires planning permission across B&NES. The adopted LPPU includes some changes, known as main modifications, that were suggested by an independent planning inspector to ensure the Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) would be sound and legally compliant. They were consulted on last year.

The LPPU includes specific policies that will secure net zero development, help facilitate the delivery of renewable energy installations of an appropriate scale in the most suitable locations and further encourage the shift towards more sustainable forms of transport.

It will also help to replenish housing supply, enabling the council to meet its housing requirement in a planned way and have greater control over speculative planning applications. In addition, the LPPU will help the council to better manage off-campus, purpose-built student accommodation schemes where they meet a demonstrable need.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Planning and Licensing, said: “Adoption of the Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) ensures our policies are aligned with the latest national policy and put us at the forefront nationally with policies related to the climate and ecological emergencies. Bath & North East Somerset Council is the first Local Planning Authority (LPA) in England to have an adopted Local Plan policy requiring a net zero energy balance for new housing and we are the first in the West of England to adopt a biodiversity net gain (BNG) policy.”

The new Biodiversity Net Gain policy requires major developments to demonstrate a Biodiversity Net Gain of a minimum of 10% which is secured in perpetuity, for at least 30 years. Minor developments will only be permitted where no net loss and appropriate net gain of biodiversity is secured.

The council liaised with Cornwall Council and used their evidence base to support the new net zero construction policy. Their similar policy has been found sound by an inspector and will be considered for adoption in February. Similar policies are being progressed by Central Lincolnshire and GHA Leader member Greater Cambridge Shared Planning.

The recent adoption of the Sustainable Construction Checklist SPD provides the reporting framework to demonstrate compliance with the new sustainable construction policies and the council’s partnership with the University of Bath will help to evaluate implementation and industry response.

The policy is the first new housing policy to be net-zero aligned based on 2030 trajectories of industry-leading organisations such as the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

More information on the LPPU can be found on the council website.

Click here to download key documents

To find out more about the Good Homes Alliance’s local authority Vanguard Network, click here.


Cornwall Council – Climate Emergency Development Plan Document (DPD)

Cornwall Council submitted the Climate Emergency DPD for independent examination in November 2021. This was required under (Town and Country Planning) (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2012).

Planning Inspector: P Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC acted on behalf of the Secretary of State. He has now completed his examination and has made his report. His report confirms that the plan is sound subject to his recommended modifications. You can view or download a copy of the CEDPD Inspectors Report. and the Schedule of Main Modifications.

The plan can now proceed to adoption. A report will be made to Cabinet on 8 February and Cornwall Council for adoption on 21 February 2023. When adopted the new policies will support planning decisions.

You can view or download a copy of the Climate Emergency DPD showing the required modifications. This includes minor editorial changes to support the modifications. 

The following document will be updated to reflect the Inspectors findings before adoption: 

Following examination the Council has issued a Schedule of Modifications.

If you would like to discuss this document you can contact the team by emailing:

by writing to: 
Climate Emergency DPD Team
Cornwall Council
New County Hall
Treyew Road,

About the Climate Emergency DPD

Cornwall declared a climate emergency in 2019. Recognising that all services across the Council would have a part to play. New planning policies are a step towards improving Cornwall’s housing and infrastructure. Helping to plan for a Cornwall that our children and grandchildren can live, work and thrive in.

These Planning Policies impact the way that places grow and change. They will help to protect and shape the future of Cornwall. They add detail to the Cornwall Local Plan (2016). They aim to help address climate change, by expanding on and replacing some Local Plan policies. The aim is to address the impacts of climate change, sitting alongside Government legislation.

These policies make development more sustainable and are flexible to keep up with changes in technology.

Download documents

Case Study

Seaward Way


A scheme of 54 new zero carbon in operation homes, all with affordable rent for Somerset West & Taunton Council.

Due to start on site winter 2021, the project has ambitious energy performance targets, working towards the LETI definition of net zero. Low carbon technologies including PV panels, thermal storage with smart controllers and air source heat pumps will be installed with 100% of predicted total operational energy generated on site.

Key information

  • Client: Somerset West and Taunton Council
  • Developer: Somerset West and Taunton Council
  • Architects: Mitchells/APG Architecture
  • Contractor: Classic Builders (SW) Ltd
  • Location: Minehead, Somerset
  • Engineers/consultants: Hydrock/GCP/Expedite Engineers
  • Employers agents: Gates Consultants
  • Principal Designer: Gates Consultants
  • Clerk of Works: Gates Consultants
  • Project type: New-build
  • Number of homes: 54, ranging from 1-4 bed
  • Sector: Social Housing
  • Key dates: Pre-construction services agreement commences August 2021, Start on site Winter 2021, Completion Summer 2023

Key facts/highlights

  • Ambitious targets, using LETI definition of net zero
  • Zero operational carbon through the use of low carbon technologies
  • Monitoring data will be taken and analysed by University of Bath
  • High performance insulation and glazing
  • Air tightness <1 m³/h/m² @50Pa
  • Accessible units
  • All units are affordable rent

Energy performance

  • 100% of predicted total operational energy generated on site via solar PV
  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target: <35 kWh/m²/yr (LETI)
  • Space heating demand target: <15 kWh/m²/yr (Passivhaus)
  • U value targets:
    • Roof: <0.10 W/m²K
    • Ground floor: <0.10 W/m²K
    • Walls: <0.13 W/m²K
    • Windows: 0.80 W/m²K (triple glazing), g-value 0.50-0.60
  • Air tightness target: <1 m³/h/m² @50Pa
  • Performance gap mitigated with employment of energy and carbon consultant

Monitoring data will be collected by the main contractor, with the University of Bath (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering) who will collect and analyse the data.

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

  • Embodied carbon target: <500kg CO²e/m² 
  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) required for all building elements
  • 30% if materials are reused
  • 50% of materials are reusable
  • Green Euro water labels for hot water outlets

The main contractor will undertake pre and post-construction review of the associated embodied carbon emissions related to the development through data gathering on-site. This will be verified by Hydrock, post-completion. 

EPD will be used to verify embodied carbon content of at least the substructure, frame and upper floor, post-construction. Where available for other building components, this will be also be incorporated into the post-construction embodied carbon assessment.

Materials and construction

  • Porotherm block system, a modern clay brick with virtually dry construction
  • Permarock Brick Slip System
  • Permarock render cladding system RAL 9002
  • Aluminium balcony frame with aluminium floor and perforated balustrade RAL 5025
  • Natural roof slate
  • UPVC fascia, guttering and rainwater hoods in black

EV charging

All houses will have EV charging points, with up to 8 communal charging points for apartment units.

Thermal comfort and resilience

CIBSE AM11, compliant Dynamic Thermal Modelling to assess overheating following CIBSE TM59, Design methodology for the assessment of overheating risk in homes.

Access to green space and amenities

  • Balconies or terraces for all flats
  • Gardens for each house
  • Communal space with play area, landscaped bunds and attenuation pond
  • The site is 50m from the bus stop
  • Amenities including hospital and town centre between 5 and 15 minutes walking distance
  • Cycleway connection from the site


3 units are designed to be wheelchair accessible.


Case study kindly funded by MCS Charitable Foundation

Case Study

Connell Gardens


Wondrwall’s net-zero home solution aims to decarbonise houses to make sustainable, net zero homes and change the way that people use their energy.

Wondrwall and Keepmoat partnered to deliver a trial of the Connell Gardens Development as part of Manchester City Council’s regeneration plan for the Gorton area.

5 three-bedroom homes were built with improved fabric and incorporating the Wondrwall solutions with dual-aspect PV solar, hybrid inverter & battery storage, and home automation.

Gas based heating and hot water were specified to minimise risk to the tenants should there be a performance gap, however, the case study indicated that AI-powered, all-electric, net-zero homes using Wondrwall technology are achievable with minimal incremental build cost and low energy bills for the occupier.

Key information

  • Project team: Manchester City Council and Keepmoat
  • Location: West Gorton, Manchester
  • Project type: New build
  • Number of homes: 5
  • Sector: Affordable housing
  • Key dates: Completed February 2020

Key facts/highlights

  • Dual aspect solar PV, with hybrid inverter and battery
  • Light switches monitoring temperature, humidity, power, motion, luminosity and sound
  • Network of 100+ sensors to monitor habitual patterns
  • Plotting the optimal running of the home using machine learning and predictive modelling
  • Maximisation of renewable and off-peak energy.
  • Home automation, including lighting, heating, security, safety and entertainment
  • Home automation, including lighting, heating, security, safety and entertainment
  • Home automation controlled through Amazon Alexa and the Wondrwall app

Energy performance

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target- 2185 kWh/yr (31 kWh/m2/yr) 
  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): 32 kWh/m²/yr, below LETI net zero definition
  • EPC rating: A
  • Annual PV generation target – 2148 kWh/yr
  • Annual PV generation monitoring result – 2357 kWh/yr
  • Improved wall insulation at 0.24 W/m2K from Keepmoat standard building typology of 0.28 W/m2K
  • Annual energy cost reduction of £456 (88%)

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

The homes have an annual carbon reduction of 884kg (based on typical Keepmoat homes in the development). 

Materials and construction

The houses are a typical brick and block construction. The aim of the demonstrator project was to highlight the effectiveness of the Wondrwall system with significant reductions in carbon emissions and especially in the running costs for the tenants without having to make deep and costly changes to the design of the homes.

Access to green space and amenities

Each house has a private garden. 


Cllr Suzanne Richards, Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration at Manchester City Council

“To retrofit all our homes and ensure that our new build homes are going to be zero carbon by 2038. It means that we really have to start doing things right now. That’s why I’m really pleased to be at this development in West Gorton where they’re using smart technology to make the home low carbon and deal with some of the challenges that we’re going to be facing in the future so we can get homes down to zero carbon.”

Further information and images

Case study kindly funded by MCS Charitable Foundation


Building for the future: the role of county councils in meeting housing need

As part of the CCN’s Building for the Future project, which aims to showcase innovative county councils and unitary authorities delivering high-quality homes and communities, this report demonstrates that there is an appetite among counties to help meet national housing need but that they are not supported by national policy.

The report finds that there is an often-severe need for affordable housing among county and unitary authorities, with house prices in these areas among the highest in the country and at least nine times average earnings.

The report charts the progress of five counties trying to address local housing needs either through partnerships or direct delivery, ultimately calling on government to recognise the potential of this as a movement and make policy reforms to unlock further delivery.

Author: Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), County Councils Network (CCN)

Publication date: June 2018