Living Within Environmental Limits

CS1: Addessing Climate Change and Carbon Reduction

CS1: Addressing Climate Change and Carbon Reduction

North Somerset Council is committed to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change, mitigating further impacts and supporting adaptation to its effects, and to support this, the following principles will guide development:

1) development should demonstrate a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, including through reducing energy demand through good design, and utilising renewable energy where feasible and viable in line with standards set out in Policy CS2; and by focusing development in major development areas: and

2) developments of 10 or more dwellings should incorporate site-wide renewable energy solutions to provide a proportion of the energy required by the development delivered early in the development; and

3) maximise the opportunities for all new homes to contribute to tackling climate change through adherence to emerging national standards such as the Code for Sustainable Homes to ensure they  perform well against evolving energy standards, and have a reduced carbon footprint; and

4) developments of 10 or more dwellings should demonstrate a commitment to maximising the use of sustainable transport solutions, particularly at Weston-super-Mare.  Opportunities for walking and cycling should be maximised through new development and in existing areas; and

5) a network of multifunctional green infrastructure will be planned for and delivered, through new development.  They should be located throughout and in adjacent developments and demonstrate a functional relationship to the proposed development and existing area; and

6) protecting and enhancing biodiversity across North Somerset including species and habitats that are characteristic of the area, in order to support adaptation to climate change.  This should be achieved through on and off-site measures to conserve species and habitats as well as the reduction or preferably elimination of any adverse impacts through sensitive design and layout and construction of developments; and

7) the reduction, re-use and recycling of waste with particular emphasis on waste minimisation on development sites and the creation of waste to energy facilities on the urban extension; and

8) the re-use of previously developed land and existing buildings in preference to the loss of green field sites; and

9) opportunities for local food production and farming will be encouraged to reduce the district's contribution to food miles, and

10) areas will be enhanced to be resilient to the impacts of climate change including flood defence and public realm enhancements.

This policy contributes towards achieving the objectives of Planning Policy Statement: Planning and Climate Change - Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1.


Adapting to the likely effects of climate change and mitigating further impacts are among the most significant challenges facing local communities, and planning policies can support this by supporting a reduction in non-renewable energy and other resource use, promoting decentralised renewable energy use, reducing carbon emissions, increasing carbon sinks and through the location and design of development. The Core Strategy along with other Development Plan Documents will set out a policy framework to guide and regulate development that addresses the issues of climate change. Policy CS1 sets out a broad context and key strategic directions to which other policies relate and gives expression to wider council initiatives and strategies including the Fuel Strategy, Sustainable Community Strategy and Corporate Plan.

Tackling climate change is a key priority for the planning system and in particular implementing the national carbon reduction strategy of an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Given the scale of development allocated to North Somerset, there are significant opportunities and indeed a responsibility to deliver action on the ground which should be led by a strong policy framework. In terms of the Core Strategy this action is primarily aiming to reduce carbon emissions and to prepare places for the likely impacts of climate change.

The supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1, Planning Policy Statement: Planning and Climate Change (December 2007) sets out how the planning system can contribute to stabilising and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

The Core Strategy approach

Policy CS1 sets out a broad policy framework drawing together various themes where development can address climate change issues. Many of the specific themes are dealt with elsewhere in the Core Strategy including green infrastructure (Policy CS9) and sustainable construction and design (Policy CS2), but are included in this more general policy as a means of co-ordinating action to address climate change. Primarily the Core Strategy seeks to address climate change by:

  • Reducing unsustainable carbon emissions
  • Making all buildings more sustainable
  • Encouraging sustainable transport patterns
  • Planning for a sustainable distribution of land uses.

In addition to development having a reduced impact on climate change (mitigation), places need to become more resilient to its effects (adaptation). North Somerset may be particularly susceptible to any adverse impacts in relation to flooding, having a significant coastline and areas within the defined Environment Agency flood zones, and a large quantity of low lying land. New development has a role to play in enabling increased resilience through enhancements and the delivery of specific features as key parts of the environmental infrastructure.

The broad location of development and proposal to align residential with jobs and services can support sustainable travel patterns. The sustainability of homes and other buildings as part of planned new developments can offer the potential for significant carbon savings and the provision of renewable energy.

Much of North Somerset is rural in nature having Green Belt, and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designations. The importance of a network of green space for wildlife and habitat protection, recreation and environmental reasons cannot be understated and should be actively enhanced through new development. The Core Strategy approach seeks to encourage a network of green spaces through built-up areas including a range of scales of green space from large multipurpose areas to green 'stepping stones', corridors, gardens and green roofs. As well as habitat creation this will also contribute to urban cooling and the capturing of carbon emissions.

Giving due consideration to biodiversity and how it will be impacted by climate change is a key component of the Core Strategy approach, and in particular how habitats can be supported and enhanced through the regulation of development and land use.

How and where the policy will be delivered

It is recognised that most opportunities to address climate change are where most new development is proposed, primarily at Weston-super-Mare, and to a lesser degree at Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead. The various measures set out in Policy CS1 should be integrated within development proposals in these locations and anywhere else development takes place.

crashing waves

Development proposals should demonstrate how they contribute to addressing climate change by putting in place the necessary measures to make their development as sustainable as possible. Through the development management process planning applications will be considered taking into account the extent to which the proposal addresses climate change issues. The council will plan for development with sustainable development as an underlying principle allocating sites and setting out policies through the Local Development Framework to enable development to address climate change, and will carry out a Sustainability Appraisal of its options for development to ensure sustainable issues are addressed.

Essential to the delivery of action is to ensure the necessary infrastructure is delivered including energy, green infrastructure, flood attenuation/defence, public realm enhancements (for example shading with trees) and transport.

The wide scope of this policy translates to the variety of interests responsible for delivering action on climate change and meeting the strategic objectives and realising the visions set out in this strategy and the need to co-ordinate action, towards comprehensive place-making. Developers and other bodies with development interests should work closely with local communities, specialist groups and the council in order to bring development forward that meets the challenges climate change brings.

Alternative options and contingency planning

Addressing climate change is a central theme that runs through the Local Development Framework. It underpins the spatial distribution of development, the development of all buildings, infrastructure and other features. The alternative options in relation to addressing climate change centre on where development is located.

Sustainability Appraisal (SA) should consider the extent to which various options in the strategy to deliver the broad quantity of development contribute to delivering action on climate change, incorporating reducing carbon emissions (for example the extent to which one option might increase car-based journeys in relation to another), potential for securing infrastructure through economies of scale etc.

The broad quantity of development indicated in the Core Strategy requires significant infrastructure and inevitably relies on significant investment to deliver it. Many measures put forward through this policy are mitigation measures to reduce further impact from new development. Any changes to the broad quantity of development, for example any alternative scenarios for housing delivery, should be accompanied by a commensurate level of infrastructure provision including green, energy and transport.

Monitoring and review

Monitoring will assess a wide range of indicators which together provide a picture of how spatial planning decisions affect climate change and carbon reduction. These will include indicators relating to energy, sustainable design, CO2 impacts and the creation of green infrastructure.