Sustainable construction and climate change adaptation supplementary planning document (SPD) and updated local validation requirements consultation

The Local Plan, adopted on 3 January 2019, contains policies to be considered when looking at planning applications. Supplementary planning documents (SPDs) contain further advice and explain how these policies will be applied.

We’re asking for your views on a new sustainable construction and climate change adaptation SPD. The SPD will make clear what we expect during the creation of sustainable developments. This is in order to ensure we contribute towards our zero 40 and zero 45 targets.

The Local Plan contains a number of climate change related policies. The SPD provides further guidance on what is expected of developments in relation to these policies. It also indicates where we would welcome and encourage higher standards than those prescribed nationally. You can read a summary of the issues and topics covered in the draft document below.

We're also asking for people’s views on the list of updated local validation requirements. This sets out what will need to be included with various types of planning applications.

We're asking for your views on the new sustainable construction and climate change adaptation SPD. We'd also like you to comment on the updated local validation requirements. The consultation period runs from Monday 28 November, 2022 to Friday 6 January, 2023. Comments received will be considered when drafting the final versions.

Summary of issues and topics covered

Whole Life Carbon

The SPD asks for a Whole Life Carbon Assessment. This should be included when you apply to planning for 10 or more dwellings or commercial buildings of 1000m2 or above. This should follow the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) model.

BREEAM certification for non-residential buildings

The Local Plan policy "CC2 Sustainable Construction" requires all non- residential development to be built to a minimum standard. This should meet the BREEAM standard of ‘very good’. The SPD welcomes and encourages higher BREEAM standards where possible. Proposals should be supported by initial BREEAM assessments at planning application stage.

Future Homes Standard and Future Building Standard

The Government has brought in the Future Homes Standard. From 2025 this will require CO2 emissions produced by new homes to be 75-80% lower than homes that are built to current standards. Homes will need to be zero carbon ready with no retrofit work required. This is so they benefit from the reduction of carbon from the electric grid. It will also help the move towards electric for heating. The idea is to future proof new homes for low carbon heating systems and meet higher standards of energy efficiency.

The Government has also set higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings (Future Building Standard). These will have to be ‘zero carbon ready’ by 2025 and involves:

  • Raised minimum energy efficiency standards.
  • Raised minimum standards for new and replacement thermal elements (i.e. walls, floors, roofs)
  • Controlled fittings (e.g. windows, rooflights and doors).

The SPD makes clear the national requirement and welcomes and encourages higher standards where possible.

Energy efficiency and adaptation

The SPD supports the energy hierarchy which sets the priorities as:

  • Priority one: Energy Conservation
  • Priority two: Energy Efficiency
  • Priority three: Renewables
  • Priority four: Low emission
  • Priority five: Conventional

Supporting renewable and low-carbon energy schemes is a key part of meeting carbon reduction targets. In the short term at least, they are capable of delivering greater carbon savings quickly.

Sustainable construction

The SPD gives advice on sustainable construction materials. It supports the use of sustainable natural materials and asks that developers consider material selection early in the design process.

Modern methods of construction

The SPD contains advice on modern methods of construction which are focussed on products and processes. They aim to make manufacture, delivery and construction more efficient and improve quality, timescale and performance.

The fabric first approach

A ‘fabric first’ approach to building design involves maximising the performance of items and materials that make up the building fabric. This should be done before thinking about the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems. This can help reduce capital and costs, improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. A fabric first method can also reduce the need for maintenance during the building’s life.

Buildings designed and constructed using the fabric first approach aim to minimise the need for energy consumption. This is done through methods such as:

  • Maximising air-tightness
  • Using Super-high insulation
  • Optimising solar gain through the use of openings and shading
  • Optimising natural ventilation
  • Using the thermal mass of the building fabric
  • Using energy from people, electronic devices, cookers and so on

Focusing on the building fabric first, is generally considered to be more sustainable. Relying on energy saving technology, or renewable energy generation can cost more. It can also have a high embodied energy and may or may not be used efficiently by the consumer.

Passive design

Passive design maximises the use of ‘natural’ sources of heating, cooling and ventilation to create comfy conditions inside buildings. It uses solar radiation, cool night air and air pressure differences to drive the internal environment. The SPD encourages passive house design in all homes where possible. It is very much encouraged for self build and any development within villages.

District heating and cooling

The SPD supports the use of heat networks. This is where they are energy efficient and do not pose further risks to the environment. These are risks such as high embodied carbon supply chains or inefficient types of heat pumps’. Examples of heat networks include:

  • A facility that provides a dedicated supply to the heat network, such as a combined heat and power plant
  • Heat recovered from industry (such as disused mine water), canals and rivers, or energy from waste plants.

Water use and flood risk

The SPD gives advice on water use and requires development to reduce use and make adequate plans for water recycling. The SPD expects developers to use the Climate Just Map tool. This is a useful way to assess the development risk at a local scale.

Local Plan policies "CC3 Flood Risk" and "CC4 Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)" should be taken into account in the design of development. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs) seek to capture, delay or manage surface water flooding. They copy natural drainage by adopting techniques that deal with surface water. This can be through collection, storage and filtering before it is released back into the environment.

Recycling and waste

The SPD provides guidance on minimising construction and other waste.

Electric vehicle charging points

The SPD signposts to the Building Regulations 2010 Approved "Document S Infrastructure" for the charging of electric vehicles. The guidance for the creation of electric vehicle charging points has fallen under this since the 15 June 2022.

Read and comment on the documents

A paper copy of the documents are available at Library @ the Lightbox, 1 The Glass Works, Barnsley, S70 1GW. They are also available at all branch libraries during their normal opening hours.

You can comment on the documents by filling in our online forms.

If you can't complete the online form you can also submit your comments by:

  • email to 
  • post to: Planning Policy, Regeneration and Culture, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, PO Box 634, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 9GG.

Please use one method of reply only to avoid duplication.

All comments must be received by 5pm on Friday 6 January 2023.

We'll produce and publish a document summarising the comments made. We won't publish your personal information. You can read about what you can expect when we collect and processes your personal information in our privacy statement.

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