One of the constraints on the economy of South Hampshire is getting infrastructure improvements moving at the same pace with development. Getting the right community infrastructure in place, both in regeneration and new communities, is crucial to inward investment and the effective delivery of urban regeneration. Furthermore, climate change is a major challenge to the resilience of infrastructure for both existing and new communities.
South Hampshire has a wealth of environmental, historical and cultural assets and consequently one of PfSH’s key priorities is to ensure that its strategy for economic growth protects and enhances these assets whilst being environmentally sustainable.
Where development is proposed to stimulate growth, effective planning controls will be vital to minimising the environmental impacts and influencing good design to ensure sustainability principles are central to all decision making.
Best practice in Sustainability
Working in partnership with the Environment Centre in Southampton, PfSH has been successful in securing European Funding from the GROW programme to promote best practise in environmental sustainability. This is known as the SUSPURPOL project, and is focused on developing relevant technical skills for planners and developers and those involved in procurement of new buildings. The European partners participating in the project and sharing best practise are the University of Technology, Kracow in Poland and the Andalusian Institute of Technology, Seville, in Spain.
Procurement Strategy for Development and Construction
Local authorities have a key responsibility to champion the case for sustainability by ensuring that in their approach to purchasing, environmental sustainability is a key consideration.
Action: PfSH is currently preparing objectives to guide local authority procurement on sustainable principles and is looking to raise awareness amongst procurement professionals through a series of workshops.
Sustainability Common Policy Framework
Achieving sustainable and environmentally sensitive development across the sub region requires joint working and the application of consistent standards and principles. The impact of all development on, and its resilience to, climate change is a global challenge which each authority within PfSH will need to meet with local innovation and through collaboration with its spatial partners. Each Council’s spatial plans and its development proposals must include measures to mitigate their impact on and to adapt to climate change.
A PfSH policy framework on sustainable construction has been adopted and will be implemented through local development frameworks. Developers will be required to build all new housing developments to the standards of at least level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and moving progressively to level 6 by 2016 in line with Government policy. Particular attention will be given to the two Strategic Development Areas and urban extensions. A similar approach will apply towards non-residential development.
Sustainability supplementary guidance document
There is much more detail that developers, members, planning control officers and the public will need in order to understand how new development can be made sustainable. A background guidance document has been produced by PfSH officers to provide just such an evidence base. This will add detail on the justification for the policy framework principles and on the practicalities of building sustainable homes, employment space and shops.
Our communities face major challenges and risks relating to both the supply and demand for energy. These include:
- Rising Energy Prices and Fuel Poverty
- Uncertain Energy Supply
- Climate Change
The challenge is to reduce harmful emissions and achieve an affordable, decarbonised and secure energy supply.
At a meeting on 6 June 2013 the Joint Committee agreed to fund the development of an Energy Strategy for the Solent Region. This is a key strand of a programme of work aimed at developing a low carbon economy in partnership with other stakeholders including the LEP, Chamber of Commerce and Future Solent. A key objective of the strategy is to increase the number of green businesses and people employed within this sector.
A baseline study in 2008 established that 96% of energy used in the Solent comes from outside of the sub-region. This represents money flowing out of the Solent economy. It also represents a potential energy security threat to households and businesses in the area.
There are potential opportunities for South Hampshire to exploit which could have significant economic impact in terms of growth, jobs and energy security. These are set out in more detail in the Solent Energy Strategy and the Mini Stern Report.
The Solent Energy Strategy
The energy strategy sets out four objectives:
- Improving energy efficiency
- Increasing the use of renewable energy resources
- Maximising the uptake of business opportunities locally; and
- Ensuring focused, integrated delivery and implementation.