Presentation on theme: "Questions for Discussion Session From your experience of LAQM in the East Midlands do you think the main recommendations of the review are correct? Do."— Presentation transcript:
Questions for Discussion Session From your experience of LAQM in the East Midlands do you think the main recommendations of the review are correct? Do you think a ‘modest’ or ‘proactive’ approach would be the way forward in your area? What more do you feel you need (enabling action, guidance, resources) to help local authorities make LAQM effective? What are the impacts of local authorities working on climate change – is policy being ‘joined up’?
Planning and Air Quality Ed Dearnley Policy Officer
About Environmental Protection UK Formerly the National Society for Clean Air, founded 1898 Large cross sector professional membership 10 staff in Brighton, 2 in Scotland Three work areas – Air quality and climate change – Land quality – Noise
Planning for air quality Why is planning important? Guidance on air quality in the planning system The pro-active approach – Low emission strategies Burning issues, biomass in the planning system
Development and air quality Development can have a significant impact on air quality: – Construction dust and emissions – Building emissions (boilers, etc) – Transport emissions (e.g. new car and bus journeys) New development may also expose more people to polluted air (e.g. new homes or offices in polluted areas)
Planning guidance PPS 23 contains guidance on air quality ‘Any air quality consideration that relates to land use and its development is capable of being a material planning consideration. Wherever a proposed development is likely to have significant air quality impacts, close co- operation between LPAs and those with responsibilities for air quality and pollution control will be essential’
Improving air quality via development Development can also act as a ‘force for good’ for air quality – Introduce new technologies/ techniques – Go ‘air quality neutral’ or beyond Low emission strategies can be a major part of this process – addressing the transport emissions of new development
Guidance from Environmental Protection UK Guidance is aimed at environmental protection and planning officers Provides background material and an approach to assessment for air quality in the development control system Recently updated for 2010
Aims To assist environmental protection officers to better understand the planning system, and planning officers to better understand air quality issues To help spread a consistent approach to air quality assessment amongst local authorities (helps all parties)
Identifying Applications with AQ Impacts The guidance suggests that the earlier air quality concerns are picked up in the planning process, the better: – Close communication with planning colleagues – Development briefs and SPDs for larger sites Post submission: – Development listing – Air Quality Management Area ‘flag’
AQ Steps in the Application Process
The air quality assessment An air quality assessment generally uses computer modelling to predict changes in concentrations of air pollutants related to a new development Guidance describes: – When an air quality assessment should be asked for – What the air quality assessment should contain – How a local authority should assess the adequacy of the air quality assessment Job is then describing the significance of air quality impacts
Describing significance The guidance provides a process for describing the significance of potential air quality impacts Distinction is made between significance in the air quality assessment, and significance in local authority decision making New 2010 update makes changes to guidance on significance in the air quality assessment It also introduces an enhanced emphasis on professional judgement in deciding significance
Assessing significance For the air quality assessment the guidance provides descriptors for the magnitude of the air quality impact, and how this is described in relation to existing air quality in the area Professional judgement is needed to apply these descriptors, keeping in mind issues such as the number of people exposed and the difficulty of achieving air quality objectives
Local authority decision making Once the air quality assessment has been completed local authorities need to apply their own judgement of significance Guidance is given on how to do this, including a useful flow chart (next slide) Again, professional judgement needs to be used in coming to a final decision
Mitigation Guidance is provided on measures to mitigate the air quality impacts of new development These include examples of mitigation measures that local authorities have included in planning conditions Quantifying the impact of mitigation measures is difficult, but can be explored with: – The air quality assessment – DEFRA guidance – Forthcoming LES toolkit!
‘a package of policies & measures…’ ‘secured through a combination of planning conditions & legal obligations…’ ‘to mitigate the transport impacts of development by accelerating the uptake of low emission transport fuels and technologies in and around a new development…’ Tackling air pollutant AND greenhouse gas emissions
Current Emissions Baseline Business as usual Target Proposed Development Proposed Development Low Emission Development Increasing acceptability of development Reduce Journeys Mode Shift Improve Technology Trips Residual Emissions Options include: Hybrids, Electric, Biogas, Biofuel and Hydrogen Options include: Travel planning, Smarter choices Public transport, Road charging Using the planning system to reduce transport emissions
Specification of minimum emissions standards to be achieved by service vehicles accessing the site Residential car parking with a graduated annual charge depending on Euro standard and/or vehicle VED rating Contributions to enhance provision of local public transport, supporting deployment of low emission technologies Provision of electrical vehicle charging points Provision of car club, deploying low emission vehicles Some Key Planning Measures…
‘A practical approach for mitigating cumulative impacts’ Contributions to a ‘general low emission strategy fund,’ can be deployed flexibly to support a wide range of low emission projects, policies and strategic activities Important Considerations What criteria and formula to use? Encouraging good development rather than ‘paying to pollute’? Flexibility? Transparency and accountability? Interaction with / implications of CIL? Standardised Charging
Biomass Biomass is a ‘burning’ issue for local authority air quality officers – most local authorities are seeing a large increase in planning applications Current biomass drivers are mainly local planning policies Forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentive will drive the market from next year
What is Sustainable? i.e. what should we be assessing? Carbon emissions? Fuel source? Air quality? Economic impacts?
DEFRA Impacts Assessment In 2008 DEFRA commissioned a UK wide study of the potential air quality effects of a major expansion in biomass heat Results and key messages communicated in a letter from DEFRA/ DECC/ Scottish Government to all local authorities in the UK
Results of the Study Unit emission levels Final uptake level in 2020 Fuel and location bias? Additional Km of roads exceeding PM 10 limit value in 2020 Annual social (health) cost in 2020 (£m) Medium – equates to average performance of current plant 52 TWhNo5772, TWhYes TWhYes9557 High – equates to top end performance of current plant 52 TWhNo TWhYes TWhYes TWh = 6.2% of 2005 UK Heat Demand
‘Key Messages’ from the Study ‘To meet the 2020 targets for renewable energy, the UK needs to increase very substantially the amount of renewable heat generated, and biomass heat is one of the key technologies’
‘Key Messages’ from the Study ‘ The potential conflicts between these goals and air quality can be avoided through the use of high quality, low emission plant. The replacement of old coal and oil fired plant with high quality wood fired plant located off the gas grid and away from densely populated urban areas may actually benefit air quality’.
‘Key Messages’ from the Study ‘In urban areas we would expect biomass heat deployment to be less common and larger (and therefore cleaner) biomass units to be more prevalent ‘Encouraging the use of larger plant, for example in conjunction with the development of heat networks, will result in a system where air quality emissions are easier to control than from a larger number of small plant’
Implementing these key messages? At present biomass is largely development driven, i.e. led by ‘Merton Rule’ style planning conditions Implementing these messages requires – Targeting deployment geographically – local planning policy – Emissions standards – Amend the Clean Air Act, or use the ‘carrot’ of the Renewable Heat Incentive – Encouraging larger plant – Community Infrastructure Levy?
Planning Policy In 2009 Environmental Protection UK and Lacors produced guidance on biomass and air quality Covers assessment, management and mitigation of emissions Comes with a number of supporting tools (unit conversion spreadsheet, developers information leaflet, etc) But what about biomass outside of the planning system?
Emissions Standards Clean Air Act sets a standard for ‘exempt appliances’ for use in Smoke Control Areas, but no standards for NO x and fine particles Outside of SCAs controls are even weaker Government’s preferred way forward is to introduce new emissions standards in the new Renewable Heat Incentive
Proposed RHI Emissions Standards
Encouraging Larger Plant Biomass development is still overwhelmingly development driven RHI may well be a ‘game changer’ but unlikely to encourage larger plant on its own New Community Infrastructure Levy could perhaps be one way of funding larger, geographically targeted plant
What is sustainable? Realistically a ‘horses for courses’ approach is needed for small scale renewables: Urban areas: – Passive technologies (e.g. solar) – Energy efficiency and large scale CHP Rural areas: – Biomass, ground source heat pumps, wind, etc (Previous) government policy on planning does not help this approach!
More information Planning guidance - protection.org.uk/aqplanning Low emission strategies - Biomass and air quality - protection.org.uk/biomass/
Planning and Air Quality Ed Dearnley Policy Officer