Housing minister Yvette Cooper published the Planning Policy Statement on Climate Change yesterday and called on local authorities and developers to incorporate renewable energy measures in all developments to help cut carbon emissions.

The planning rules will mean councils and developers will have to consider energy saving measures such as solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps that can generate energy from on the site of new development.

Planning to support Green development

Cooper’s statement follows intense debate over the Merton Rule which required a specific percentage of a development's energy needs to be supplied through on-site renewable sources.

She said: ‘We need the planning system to do more to back jobs, economic growth and regeneration but also to support higher environmental standards as we do so. Economic growth and environmental standards are not alternatives they need to go hand in hand.

Green offices
The government has already set a timetable for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. Her statement coincided with a publication yesterday of the UK Green Building Council’s report - Carbon Reductions in New Non-Domestic Buildings - that said the commercial buildings, which account for 18% of carbon emissions, should be set a similar long term timetable for achieving zero carbon.

The BPF backed Cooper’s proposals and chief executive Liz Peace said: ‘Industry support for the government's green targets will be integral to their success. The key factor to successful green development is flexibility. It is still very early days and our technology is evolving fast. Therefore, it is essential that developers are allowed to use their professional judgement to work out the best energy solution for each site.’