Minerals and Waste Local Plan: Pre-Submission Publication

Ended on the 19 December 2022
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8. Climate change mitigation and adaption - STRATEGIC POLICY

8.1 The Climate Change Act 2008 sets up a framework for the UK to achieve its long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure steps are taken towards adapting to the impacts of climate change. That Act also introduced a requirement into the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 for local planning authorities to address climate change in preparing Local Plans. In 2019 the Climate Change Act was amended to commit the UK government by law to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050. The Government's 'Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener' (2021) sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet the net zero target by 2050.

8.2 The Government's Resources and Waste Strategy (2018) made a commitment to increase municipal waste recycling rates to 65% and to ensure that no more than 10% of municipal waste is landfilled by 2035 because biodegradable waste sent to landfill slowly breaks down anaerobically, emitting methane for many years afterwards.

8.3 Forestry and woodlands act as carbon sinks and capture greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, habitat creation and the expansion of existing habitats can increase the resilience of the natural environment to cope with climate change. There is the opportunity to incorporate trees and other natural landscape features into both permanent and temporary minerals and waste developments, and for the restoration schemes for temporary mineral developments to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaption measures. The restoration requirements for mineral workings are dealt with in Policy MP7.

8.4 There is a need to reduce the contribution to climate change from minerals development and waste management facilities, while also adapting to its potential effects. Norfolk County Council adopted an Environment Policy in November 2019 which includes the policy aim to achieve 'net zero' carbon emissions on our estates by 2030, but within our wider areas, work towards 'carbon neutrality' by 2030.

8.5 Norfolk is one of the driest counties in the UK and there is a need to minimise demands on potable water resources, particularly in the context of climate change. Large parts of Norfolk are at risk from flooding, particularly coastal and river localities, and particularly from surface water run-off after storm events; again, an issue that will be compounded by climate change.

8.6 The design and siting of new development can contribute to mitigation and adaption to climate change. New minerals development and waste management facilities should therefore include appropriate measures to ensure mitigation and adaption to climate change. The National Design Guide explains that well-designed places and buildings conserve natural resources including land, water, energy and materials and that their design responds to the impacts of climate change by being energy efficient and minimising carbon emissions. The National Design Guide identifies measures to achieve climate change mitigation, primarily by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimising embodied energy; and adaptation to anticipated events, such as rising temperatures and the increasing risk of flooding. As the requirements for site specific Flood Risk Assessments include climate change scenarios, this is dealt with as part of the Development Management Criteria Policy MW1.

8.7 Proposed developments should follow the energy hierarchy by:

  1. reducing the need for energy usage through their design, construction and operation;
  2. using energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems, and
  3. by using renewable energy.

8.8 Minerals and waste developments have the potential to generate renewable energy (e.g. through solar panels, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps etc.) which could meet some of their electricity needs. Applicants should generate the energy used on site from decentralised and renewable or low carbon sources. Given the rural location of mineral sites, it is recognised that in some cases this may not be practicable, perhaps because of financial viability, site size, physiographical constraints of a site, environmental or landscape impacts. If the applicant considers that this is the case, the policy requires evidence to be provided to the County Planning Authority, and the applicant should source the electricity required from renewable energy through a power supplier.

8.8 Policy MW3 provides the framework for the County Council's determination of minerals and waste development proposals in relation to climate change issues:

(4)Policy MW3: Climate change mitigation and adaption - STRATEGIC POLICY

Proposals should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk, coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes, and the risk of overheating from rising temperatures.

New minerals sites and waste management facilities (including extensions to existing sites) will, through their design, construction and operation, be expected to: minimise their potential contribution to climate change through reducing carbon and methane emissions, incorporate energy and water efficient design strategies and be adaptable to future climatic conditions.

Proposals for new minerals and waste developments (including extensions to existing sites) will therefore be expected to:

  1. take account of landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping to minimise energy consumption, including maximising cooling and avoiding solar gain in the summer,
  2. be planned so as to minimise greenhouse gas emissions;
  3. set out how the proposal will make use of renewable energy, including generating the energy used on site from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon sources. Where on-site renewable or low-carbon energy generation is not practicable, evidence must be provided to the County Planning Authority, and the applicant should source the electricity required from renewables through an energy supplier;
  4. use sustainable drainage systems, rainwater harvesting, stormwater harvesting, including from impermeable surfaces wherever feasible and layouts that accommodate wastewater recycling where a connection to the public sewerage network is required;
  5. take account of potential changes in climate including rising sea levels and coastal erosion;
  6. take opportunities to incorporate trees, retain existing trees and include measures to assist habitats and species to adapt to the potential effects of climate change wherever possible;
  7. set out how the transportation related to the development will help reduce carbon emissions and incorporate proposals for sustainable travel, including travel plans where appropriate; and
  8. for waste management proposals, set out how the principles of the waste hierarchy have been considered and addressed.
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