To review and provide comments on the draft
The report presented the draft Climate Change SPD for consideration by the Scrutiny Board. The report was presented by the Team Leader, Planning Policy. The Scrutiny Board was informed that:
· The Draft Climate Change SPD was included din the Council Plan Update 2022/23 and was not a vehicle for new policy, but rather gave guidance for planning applications.
· The SPD was organised thematically with 7 main chapters, which were:
Renewable/Low Carbon Energy.
Climate Change Adaptation.
Having received the presentation, the Scrutiny Board raised the following questions pertinent to the report, which in summary included the following matters:
Councillor McLoughlin welcomed receipt of the draft Climate Change SPD at the meeting of the Scrutiny Board, noting that it was important to receive it in draft form and at the development stage for scrutiny comment.
Councillor McLoughlin further commented that:
· he would welcome greater detail to be included addressing community projects and energy in the draft SPD.
· Regarding paragraph 6.26 of the draft Climate Change SPD, Councillor McLoughlin stated that globally 11% of emissions arose from building materials and that the Councils recognition of reducing such embodied carbon as a key factor in reducing carbon emissions was very positive.
· Reference to orientating buildings to maximise natural energy conservation was excellent.
· Paragraph 5.37 of the draft SPD referencing the surveying of underlying geology and digging of trenches and drilling unobstructed by tree roots was a significant issue across the borough and was applicable to any site, not just development sites. A good SPD would help guide n=both a Planning Committee and developers.
· Local Plan Policy P9 and references to “where possible”, to what extent did the SPD govern Planning Committee decisions and developers actions?
Regarding Local Plan Policy P9, the Team Leader, Planning Policy agreed that clarification would be welcomed for a policy requirement “should / encourage”. Where possible, a planning/development balance would be established. In terms of a sustainability check list there was not a “yes/no” answer.
Councillor Thomas queried whether in terms of Building Standards referenced in the Draft Climate Change SPD would it be possible to include reference to adherence to future 2025 Building Standards.
In reference to dedicated recycling space, especially for apartments and low- rise blocks, Councillor Thomas questioned whether an addition could be made to include reference to provision of collecting waste from flats that does not rely on plastic sacks i.e. adequate waste collection services.
Referencing Solihull Cycle Network, Councillor Thomas stated that the canal routes were very challenging, difficult to access (with provision of steps only, not ramps) and that some sections of the route were too narrow to cycle on.
The Scrutiny Board was advised that the SPD referenced Building Regulations 2021, but that Building Regulations could be brought forward where possible. However, some building sites were still using very old Building Regulations, not the 2021 standards. Any updating of the Building Standards in use on site was a step in the right direction.
Councillor Thomas’ comments and request in respect of waste recycling at flats would be reported back to Officers in the Waste and Recycling team. It was acknowledged that the Waste and Recycling Chapter in the Draft SPD was the least developed but would be addressed further.
Maintenance of canal towpaths was the responsibility of the Canal and River Trust, but Councillor Thomas’ comments would be conveyed.
Councillor McLoughlin expressed concern at the on-going challenge presented by flood risk carried by surface water and noted that one difficulty lay in the historical flood data the Council currently operated from. Councillor McLoughlin questioned whether the Council could be more agile than the current flood data dictated.
The Team Leader, Planning Policy confirmed that Flood Risk Management Plans were referenced in the Draft Climate Change SPD and that a Flood Risk Management Plan was under development and discussions taking place as to how best to deliver it. Officers would seek to sign post the Flood Risk Management Plan within the final version of the Climate Change SPD.
Having considered the report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:
i. To note the current iteration of the draft Climate Change SPD.