greater cambridge adopts sustainable design & construction document

06  February 2020

The Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been recently adopted by both South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council (Greater Cambridge Planning Services).

The thrust of sustainable design and construction is to lower consumption of resources, not only in their construction but also their use. The SPD seeks to ensure that new development contributes to meeting the challenges posed by climate change, by incorporating extensive guidance on current adopted policies in relation to:

  • Contributing to carbon reduction targets and reducing fuel poverty
  • Ensuring that new development is adaptable to our changing climate
  • Ensuring that new development makes efficient use of resources
  • Ensuring that new development contributes to the health and wellbeing of new and existing residents

The SPD has been prepared to provide additional technical guidance on the implementation of Local Plan policies, elaborating on the information that should be submitted with planning applications. It comes at a critical time in the approach to climate change by both local authorities, following their climate emergency declarations, and central government, who have revised the 2008 Climate Change Act to bring carbon reductions to 100% by 2050 with its net zero carbon commitment.

This is consistent with the direction of national planning policy as the NPPF sets out a clear role for planning in supporting the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, encouraging the reuse of existing resources and supporting renewable and low carbon energy. Climate change has been identified as one of the key themes in the emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan and it is expected that the policy position on this issue will continue to evolve.

Our view

All matters of sustainability and climate change continue to rise up the policy planning agenda and have become central to decision taking.  The Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction SPD pushes this agenda further and sets the bar higher.  The Councils will expect developments to be more aspirational in their sustainability credentials; however,  an SPD cannot change adopted Policy, but this SPD hints at how the Councils aim to really push this agenda.  So best keep an eye on the emerging Local Plan; the new policy bar could be quite a jump up.  

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