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Housing minister updates policies

Housing and planning minister John Healey has updated three planning rules, granted nearly £10 million to improve green skills and backed the second wave of eco-towns.

Mr Healey this week overhauled three planning policies so that councils have the very latest targets and guidance to address climate change.

Combined, the new policy statements – climate change, natural environment and coastal change – will give councils a green planning rulebook so new sustainable developments are planned and built with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and with the future climate in mind.

Proposals for the new climate change planning policy will ensure new developments are built using sustainable sources of energy and encouraging the installation of electric car charging points.

To help councils, Mr Healey granted nearly £10 million to boost their expertise as green champions, updating the tools and know-how they need to develop sustainable housing and energy sources for their areas.

Mr Healey also confirmed that a further two new areas have been added to the proposed eco-town second wave originally announced in December.

Two more councils – East Devon District Council and Fareham Borough Council – have expressed an interest in using eco-town standards for new settlements in their area.

Mr Healey said: “I am announcing a triple boost for councils to tackle climate change.

“Overhauled planning policies will act as a new green planning rulebook and the £10m for councils will provide training to help deliver action on the ground.

“We know we need greener, renewable energy if we are to meet our ambitious low-carbon targets. We also know that the ways and means for people to access this energy needs to be  quicker and easier.

“The tougher, better guidelines for planning give councils a new blueprint, reflecting the latest targets and ensuring councils put combating climate change at the heart of future development – ultimately saving people money on their bills and reducing emissions.”

The UK Green Building Council welcomed the green planning package from the Government.

Chief executive Paul King said: “We recently recommended that local authorities take a lead
role in identifying opportunities to deliver joined-up sustainable community infrastructure, particularly heat networks, working in partnership with the private sector.

“We are pleased that the draft PPS supports this view and emphasises a strong role for local leadership.”