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Planning news - 10 November 2022

161,000 electric vehicle charge points needed across the North to support decarbonisation

The north of England must install 470 electric vehicle-charging points a week between now and 2025 to meet its decarbonisation ambitions.

This means a rise to 620 installations a week between 2025 and 2030.

The analysis is set out in Transport for the North's (TfN) regional Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (EVCI) Framework.

Using road user, socio-economic, land-use and housing data, it found that there are 8,000 public charge points across the North. This amounts to 5 per cent of the 161,000 charging connections needed across the region by 2030 to support drivers switching to electric vehicles.

TfN put together the framework alongside its transport and energy partners through its regional EV Steering Group. The framework is intended to support local, regional and national partners in the strategic planning and deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

Martin Tugwell, chief executive at TfN, said: “Our evidence is clear that we must act now if we’re to roll out the EV charging infrastructure needed to support our decarbonisation, economic, and inclusivity ambitions. Our aim is to offer a fully integrated assessment, one that accounts for the large proportion of trips that are ‘cross-boundary’ as well as looking at how our roads and charging networks can cater for the full range of journeys being made to, from and within our region.

“Electric vehicle uptake is rapidly increasing, with no new petrol and diesel cars and vans sold in the UK by 2030. Over the next decade we will need to see a rapid transition to EVs and Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), and this requires significant investment in the charging infrastructure if we are to decarbonise transport.

“It is important that the delivery of charging infrastructure is user-centred, placed-based and outcome-focused. In this way, we can ensure access to EVs is equitable, accessible and inclusive. Our approach provides the means to make better assessments about where to put the new charging points, without forgetting the needs of non-EV users.”

Simon McGlone, senior major roads planning and strategy officer at TfN, explained that the framework identifies the significant requirements placed on the electricity grid and energy networks arising from the electrification of road vehicles.

“The evidence provides locally specific details while delivering a whole network view, which is important when you consider the user movements across our region and farther afield. Our partnership has recognised the value of understanding this cross-boundary travel across the North, to support their EVCI actions to meet demand in their local areas. This means putting the right infrastructure in the right place, at the right time – taking value-for-money, resilient and integrated decisions based on user needs. Our evidence is openly available via our interactive tool to support collaborations and partnerships which deliver the density and coverage of charge points required to support our decarbonisation ambitions.”

8 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Report: Gaps in policy make it tough to track buildings’ carbon output

There are several ‘critical’ gaps in the UK’s carbon policy that must be addressed if net-zero goals are to be met by 2050.

According to a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the UK has no decarbonisation targets at the level of industry sub-sectors and single buildings.

And the current metrics mandating building performance do not easily translate into total carbon output.

RICS explains that these gaps mean that it is challenging to track buildings' carbon output and discover whether retrofits are achieving their stated reductions. Furthermore, data on the embodied carbon output of buildings is too sparse.

A science-based approach to decarbonisation targets is required for UK real estate at sub-sectoral and asset levels, as well as a national programme to fund retrofit projects, contends RICS.

The body’s other recommended changes include:

  • Accelerating the development of a national performance-based rating scheme based on the NABERS UK system.
  • Introducing embodied carbon requirements in a new section of the Building Regulations.
  • Improving the EPC scheme to make it fit for the different purposes that it serves – changing the way the scheme is calculated, presented, and used.

Fabrizio Varriale, place and space analyst at RICS, said: “Crucial changes need to be made in the way that carbon output is tracked in the UK's built environment. By implementing the policy recommendations set out in this report, the UK Government will maximise the impact that sustainability policies in the built environment sector will bring to achieving its net-zero goals by 2050.

“This is an opportunity to radically shake up the sector and place it at the forefront of the UK’s carbon reduction initiatives by advancing a scientifically focused and data-driven sector that swiftly reacts and implements the changes needed to meet carbon output goals.”

7 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Planning’s Traveller definition discriminates, rules Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the planning policy definition of Gypsies and Travellers discriminates against disabled and elderly members of the community.

The case concerns Lisa Smith, a Romany woman from Leicestershire. Since 2011, she has rented pitches on a private site owned by a Mr Willshore, with temporary planning permission, in Coalville.

Two of Smith’s adult sons are severely disabled and cannot travel for work.

Willshore applied for permanent planning permission but was refused by North West Leicestershire District Council in 2016. At appeal, the planning inspector decided that, for planning purposes, the family fell outside the definition of ‘Traveller’ introduced in the government’s Planning policy for Traveller sites (PPTS) in 2015.

It means that Gypsies or Travellers who have ceased travelling for work because of age, ill health, or disability would not be granted planning permission to stop on their land.

Smith challenged the planning definition in the High Court but was unsuccessful, although the then Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government conceded that the definition indirectly discriminates against elderly and disabled Gypsies and Travellers.

Sir Keith Lindblom, Lord Justice Holroyd and Lord Justice Coulson ruled: “The nature of the discrimination before the judge was the negative impact on those Gypsies and Travellers who had permanently ceased to travel due to old age or illness, but who lived or wanted to live in a caravan. This discrimination was inextricably linked to their ethnic identity.”

Furthermore, they explained: “Ms Smith and her family live in caravans. They are Romany Gypsies. Their land-use needs relate to that ethnicity. The relevant exclusion in PPTS 2015 characterises nomadic Gypsies and Travellers as different from Gypsies and Travellers who, as a result of age or disability, are no longer able to travel. But that, it seems, is to create sub-classes of an ethnicity and to distinguish between those sub-classes. In our judgment, that would require specific justification, which has not been provided. It also seems to sit uneasily with the stated aim of PPTS 2015 to facilitate the ‘traditional' way of life of Gypsies and Travellers, and not simply the ‘nomadic’ way of life.”

Because of this, the judges found that “the evidence before the court does not succeed in demonstrating that, in substance, ‘fairness’ could realistically be regarded as the objective of this exclusion”.

The “acknowledged” likely effect of the exclusion was “to reduce the number of Gypsies and Travellers who can obtain permanent or temporary planning permission, and to ensure that those excluded by the new definition would not have the benefit of the policy applicable to those who remain within the definition”.

It was not suggested “that this was, or could be, a legitimate aim”.

The judges also pointed out that “there was no evidence that any of the inherent capabilities of the planning system actually made up for the admitted indirect discrimination” – rather that the other rights “did not overcome the discrimination”.

The judges concluded that the “severity of the effect on the rights of aged and disabled Gypsies and Travellers outweighs the alleged aims or objectives of the measure”.

The inspector's decision to refuse permission was quashed as “there was no proper justification for that discrimination”.

For future cases where the relevant exclusion is engaged, the judges said it “will inevitably depend on the particular circumstances of the case in hand”.

The decision can be found here.1

3 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Cumbrian coal mine determination delayed

The government has delayed for a third time making its decision on an application for an underground mine that would be located on a brownfield site south-west of Whitehaven in Cumbria.

The decision was due to be made on or before 8 November 2022 – an already delayed deadline. It had been scheduled for on or before 17 August.

In a letter to Friends of the Earth, the government said a decision will be issued “on or before 8 December 2022”.

The 8 November deadline would have meant it would be decided before or during COP27 in Egypt, which takes place from 6 November until 18 November.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth commented: “The run-up to next week’s climate summit was an ideal opportunity for the government to rebuild its battered green credentials by rejecting this damaging and unnecessary coal mine. It’s a shame they didn’t seize it.

“Secretaries of state may come and go, but the case against this mine is as strong as ever. It will increase emissions while the market for its coal is rapidly diminishing, with steel plants moving to greener production methods.

“Reintroducing the fracking ban was a good first step, but if Rishi Sunak is to really keep his pledge to make climate change a priority his government must leave coal in the ground. Instead they should boost renewables and home insulation to create the new jobs that areas like Whitehaven need.”

The controversial planning application by West Cumbria Mining was considered by Cumbria County Council for a third time in October 2020. The council’s approval of the scheme was criticised by environmental campaigners.

The housing secretary at the time, Robert Jenrick, opted not to call in the project, so the council decided it would reconsider its approval. Jenrick then made a U-turn and called in the application.

2 November 2022
Laura Edgar, The Planner

471-home neighbourhood approved in Swansea

A neighbourhood comprising 471 homes – a mix of houses and flats, has been approved by Swansea Council.

These homes represent the first two phases of what could become a much larger development of up to 1,950 houses and flats on land north of Mynydd Newydd Road and west of Swansea Road and Llangyfelach Road, to the north of the city.

Developer Llanmoor Homes has already gained outline permission for the 1,950-home development.

This week’s reserved matters approval included a spine street running diagonally through the site from Mynydd Newydd Road to Swansea Road.

The scheme, which includes 71 affordable homes, also involves two parks, play areas, trees, cycling and walking routes.

A primary school and shops are to be built during future phases of the development, which will be called Pentref Rhostir.

4 November 2022
Roger Milne, The Planner

News round-up

DfI seeks views on A5

Northern Ireland's Department for Infrastructure is seeking views from the public on A5 Supplementary Environmental Information.

A new Environmental Statement Addendum (ESA 2022) and associated documentation on the A5 Western Transport Corridor dual carriageway scheme was put out for consultation in March 2022.

The responses to this have now been considered and the DfI is consulting on several new and other updated reports as supplementary information to the ESA 2022.

This includes a new Outline Business Case for the scheme and further background information on proposed mitigation measures at Tully Bog Special Area of Conservation.

The consultation closes on 23 December 2022. It can be found here2.

New chief executive announced at RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has appointed Dr Valerie Vaughan-Dick MBE as its new chief executive. 

She is currently the chief operating officer at the Royal College of General Practitioners, and she has previously held senior leadership positions at the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Transport, and the National Audit Office.

Vaughan-Dick will take up the role in 2023. She takes over from interim CEOs Adrian Dobson and Pamela Harding.   

TCC submits Manchester Road storage plans

Trammell Crow Company (TCC), a developer and investor in commercial real estate, has submitted a planning application to Rochdale Borough Council to develop a site on Manchester Road, Heywood, in the north-west of England.

The application is to develop a 27.8-acre site that is currently used by the Department for Work and Pension for storage. It is scheduled to be vacated in early 2023.

If granted permission, the existing buildings will be replaced with a 45,755-square-foot logistics facility spread across three units. It will be used as storage and distribution units, and office space. There will be vehicle, pedestrian, and cycle accesses as well as landscaping.

Once developed, the site could create about 600 jobs, with another 300 indirect and induced employment supported, and 390 workers to deliver construction over 13 months. The project is targeting BREEAM Excellent certification and is intended to deliver increased biodiversity to the site through an extensive landscape masterplan.

The site is located within one mile of junction 19 of the M62, four miles of three major motorways (the M60, M62 and M66), and an hour’s drive from the port of Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and Leeds Bradford Airport.

Solihull approves £95m MSCP plans

Solihull Council has approved plans for a £95 million multistorey car park (MSCP), freeing up 30 hectares of developable land. It will be built alongside the HS2 Interchange Station at Arden Cross.

The 4,000-space MSCP will be over nine floors, with two floors below ground and facilities for 400 electric vehicle-charging points and connected-autonomous vehicles built in. The plans also include a ‘mobility hub’ featuring cycle and scooter hire.

The UGC car park is intended to help enable new homes and jobs at Arden Cross as part of the wider UK Central Hub. It will be next to the new interchange station and just minutes from the existing Birmingham International station and airport.

The MSCP should unlock wider plans for the area, which will deliver economic and social benefits for the region and the UK.

Saltire Riverside development plans sent to Bradford Council

Niche developer Artisan Real Estate has submitted plans to Bradford Council to transform a vacant office block on the edge of the Salts Mill World Heritage Site in Saltaire, Shipley, into a residential quarter and riverside park.

The 11-acre site is sandwiched between the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which was formerly home to an HMRC office complex that closed in October 2021.

Artisan plans for its Saltire Riverside development include 289 new homes, more than 5,000 square feet of small commercial office space designed for flexible working, and a café facing a new ‘pocket’ park and piazza.

A riverside park will link the development to the River Aire, providing woodland, grasslands and lawns to act as a natural floodwater storage area. Walkways will provide direct access to Saltaire Rail Station and the canal towpath, with easy pedestrian and cycle links to nearby Shipley.

Wind power 20 gigawatts for first time

According to the National Grid ESO, the UK’s onshore and offshore wind farms generated more than 20 gigawatts (GW) for the first time on Wednesday 2 November.

This record was set during the half-hour period from 12.00 noon to 12.30pm. A total of 20,896 megawatts (MW) (20.896GW) was reached, providing 53 per cent of Britain’s electricity.

National Grid ESO highlighted that, overall, 70 per cent of the UK’s electricity was provided by low-carbon sources overall on Wednesday (wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and storage).

8 November 2022
Laura Edgar and Prithvi Pandya, The Planner


Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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    Planning news - 10 November 2022

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      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2023 Planning Portal.