Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies: a planning vacuum? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Written evidence from the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) (ARSS 150)

We are writing in response to the decision taken to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and the implications this will have on the wider remit of planning and integrating Sustainable Community Infrastructure (SCI).

The UK-GBC recognises the deployment of integrated, cost effective, low carbon infrastructure (such as community scale heating, telecommunications, water and waste management) is increasingly important in meeting the challenges of delivering a sustainable built environment. As highlighted in the coalition agreement, the government has committed to "reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and investment in low carbon energy" and "encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced".[191] According to Chris Huhne, in his speech to the Economist UK Energy Summit, "The UK faces a massive challenge. No less than £200 billion of investment is needed in our energy infrastructure over the coming decade".[192] Conceiving and delivering infrastructure at a neighbourhood scale as an integrated package[193] offers a significant opportunity to deliver environmental, social and economic objectives. The benefits to communities include security of supply, fuel poverty alleviation, carbon abatement in production and/or transmission, place making, potable water saving, local investment opportunities, community engagement, empowerment and education.

The introduction of SCI to allow such benefits can only be successful where decisions are taken at a strategic—neighbourhood/community level. The proposals around Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP's) is therefore very much supported and the expectation is that these will offer the opportunity to enable cross collaboration across council boundaries. This is particularly important where large scale SCI is introduced and inevitably crosses communities. Without cross council communication and collaboration it will not be possible to successfully allow the development of economically, socially and environmentally viable communities.

We would be happy to further contribute to the Select Committee review where necessary.

September 2010

191   http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/409088/pfg_coalition.pdf Back

192   http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/energy_summit/energy_summit.aspx Back

193   Such a package might include, for example, heating/cooling supply, electricity supply, energy generation, water supply, water disposal, waste disposal, waste re-use and communications infrastructure.


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