What we're trying to achieve

[3.20.01] We want to increase the proportion of energy generated by renewable and low carbon sources and encourage energy provision from local scale generation, supporting a Low Carbon Lake District.

Policy 20: Renewable and low carbon energy

We want to increase the proportion of energy generated by renewable and low carbon sources and encourage energy provision from local scale generation.

We will achieve this by:

  • supporting district heating, decentralised, renewable and low carbon energy developments, including buildings or infrastructure directly related to the renewable energy proposal; and
  • requiring all new housing developments and all new developments for other uses of 100sqm floorspace or more to generate 30 per cent of their operational energy requirements through decentralised, district heating and, renewable and low-carbon energy sources.

When assessing proposals for decentralised or renewable energy schemes, we will take into account the cumulative impacts both within the Lake District and that which is visible beyond its boundary.

Where the requirements of the Policy are deemed to make a development unfeasible or unviable this must be demonstrated by the applicant through an independent viability assessment

Implementation guidance

[3.20.05] This policy supports all forms of renewable and low carbon energy, for example, hydro-power schemes, air and ground source heat pumps and energy storage proposals. The proposals would have to take into account the impact on the landscape and other environmental considerations in line with the other policies in this document. In some cases an environmental appraisal may be required to assess and mitigate any adverse impacts on the natural environment.

[3.20.06] We will have regard to the Cumbria Wind Energy Supplementary Planning Document when assessing wind energy developments. There is a presumption against large scale wind energy development in the Lake District, as schemes of this scale will be incompatible with the objectives of National Park designation. However, the landscape in some parts of the Lake District may have capacity for small scale wind energy schemes without adversely affecting the landscape character or other Special Qualities. The whole of the Lake District has been identified as suitable for small scale wind energy development subject to meeting the criteria set out in other policies in the Local Plan. We will assess renewable energy proposals in accordance with the Lake District National Park Landscape Character Assessment. When we assess proposals for wind energy proposals and both ground and roof mounted solar arrays we will take account of the cumulative impacts both within the Lake District and those which are visible beyond its boundary.

[3.20.07] Applicants will be required to submit an Energy Statement with their planning application that outlines how they will generate 30 per cent of the development’s energy requirements. The practice guidance note gives further details on how to prepare an Energy Statement.

[3.20.08] Evidence demonstrates the 30 per cent target is achievable for generating a development’s energy requirements from renewable and low carbon sources. The ‘Evidence Report and Case Studies on Renewable Energy Targets in New Developments’ concluded that a target of 30 per cent is easily achievable for most types of development if the heating and hot water requirements for a development are met through renewable and low carbon sources, for example, an air source or ground source heat pump or biomass boiler. Where electricity is available as the only energy source, more than one technology is likely be required to meet the energy requirements. For larger developments, the requirement could be met through district heating and decentralised energy schemes from renewable and low carbon sources. These can be installed where technically viable and in areas with sufficient existing or potential heat density.

[3.20.09] If the development proposal is a conversion of an existing building then consideration will be given to the character and historic significance of the building. In some circumstances the character of a building may outweigh the need to meet 30 per cent of its operation energy requirements through renewable and low carbon energy sources.

[3.20.10] If the proposal is for an extension then 30 per cent of the new structure’s energy requirements will have to be generated through renewable and low carbon energy sources. However, this could represent an opportunity to take a holistic review of a building’s energy requirements to make savings and consider alternative energy sources. Agricultural buildings do not generally have any significant energy requirements so we will not apply this target to them.

Current situation

[3.20.02] The Local Plan has a key role to play in reducing carbon emissions in the Lake District. One of the ways to achieve this is to increase the proportion of renewable and low carbon energy generated within the Lake District. The UK Climate Change Act 2008 establishes a legally binding target for an 80 per cent reduction in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Low Carbon Lake District Initiative has set a target to reduce carbon emissions by 1 per cent year on year, measured on an annual basis through the Lake District’s Carbon Budget. Renewable and low carbon energy development helps to facilitate resilience to climate change, improve local scale energy generation and reduce carbon emissions to meet the Carbon Budget.

[3.20.03] The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) report, ‘Planning for the Climate Challenge?’(2016) identified that ‘local plans are not delivering on the basic standards set out in national law and policy for either mitigation or adaptation’. Requiring a target for on-site renewable energy from new developments is one of the areas the Lake District is taking a lead, as this recent report states that a target for emissions reductions should be set in reference to local circumstances.

[3.20.04] The Lake District has an abundance of natural resources that we can use to generate low carbon and renewable energy. Due to the topography and climate condition of the Lake District there is potential for hydro generation at high-head sites. Woodfuel is particularly suitable given the large areas of woodland. Energy from air and ground source heat pumps, solar and wind can also make a contribution to increasing power from low carbon energy sources.