Another step has been taken on Nottingham’s journey to become carbon-neutral by 2028 with the introduction of a new environmentally-focused planning document.

The Informal Planning Policy Guidance, consulted on by Nottingham City Council in autumn 2021, will support residential and commercial developments and will seek to reduce carbon emissions from buildings.

It promotes a range of measures that developers can employ to reduce carbon in their proposals, which relate to energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable design and construction.

The National Planning Policy Framework currently gives local authorities few powers to insist that environmental considerations are included within the design and build process.

But with the introduction of the new guidance, all future planning applications in Nottingham of ten or more homes, or commercial developments of 1,000m2 and above, will need to be supported by a Carbon Reduction/Energy Statement.

This must set out how it will contribute towards the council’s wider carbon-neutral pledge and how the new buildings will use energy. It is hoped that by requiring a statement for all major planning applications, significant reductions in emissions will be achieved.

Traditional buildings consume around 40 per cent of the total fossil fuel energy in the UK and are significant contributors of greenhouse gases.

The council has made a commitment to work with partners to become a carbon-neutral city by 2028. This means reducing emissions from direct and indirect sources that arise from the use of energy within the city to near zero, plus offsetting those which cannot be eliminated.

Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Planning at Nottingham City Council, said: “Our pledge is bold and forward-thinking, but we know that its delivery in the city will depend on partners and organisations across a number of sectors coming on board to help – we can’t do it alone.

“Given that buildings are one of the most significant sources of carbon emissions, the Planning Guidance is an important piece of work undertaken by the council to allow us to ensure due consideration is given to environmental measures.

“It will have an immediate impact on emissions as developers are now required to demonstrate how their buildings use energy, while it strongly promotes low-carbon methods.

“There is a distinct lack of this in national Government legislation at the moment and, while this local policy is informal, it will allow us to effect meaningful change through negotiation and consent.

“Moving forward, the council will be progressing a Supplementary Planning Document to support its approach to carbon neutrality and formulating new policies to tackle the issue in its emerging Strategic Plan, which will secure increasingly sustainable and carbon-neutral development.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the development sector in tackling this global climate emergency.”