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New homes should be built with the environment’s best interests in mind

New homes should be built with the environment’s best interests in mind

If the three councils submit joint proposals, all new houses in Plymouth or South West Devon will have to be built with the environment at heart. In response to the declared climate and biodiversity emergencies by all three authorities, South Hams City Councils, West Devon City Councils and Plymouth City Councils have created a new planning policy.

The plan is to make it legally binding on builders to build homes that are sensitive to the environment. Organisers are asking residents to participate in a consultation to share their opinions on the plan and whether it is practical.

All three councils, along with Devon County Council, have declared climate emergencies. It is imperative that they act quickly and decisively to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

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Cllr Lynn Daniel, a Green Party member on West Devon council, is on the steering committee of the joint plan and welcomes people’s views. It will be very helpful because we want to provide guidance to builders and developers about building houses to make them more sustainable.

She also said that builders are not all equally responsible, but it is time to enforce certain standards more strictly. There have been some developments in our area that meet high environmental standards. However, I believe the industry has been slow to adapt and face the fact that we are moving towards a low-carbon future. We all need to do our part.

We would like to see community energy hubs, where people share their energy, and especially houses that have the capacity for battery storage to store the energy they produce when it’s hot.

Many housebuilders claim they are also committed in addressing climate change. Persimmons 2020 annual report identifies climate change mitigation and resilience as the most pressing material issues. The company has set targets that include net zero carbon for homes and operations by 2030, 50 percent of homes built with timber frames from our offsite manufacturing facilities by 2025, and net zero carbon by 2030.

Taylor Wimpey is another major building firm that recognizes climate change as the biggest global environmental threat. We are determined and committed to doing our part to address it. This has led to the setting of targets and the recognition that land purchases are necessary in order to cover the new costs associated the Future Homes Standard as well as the EV charging regulations.

Cllr Daniel would be interested in seeing more ambitious projects. As a Green, I would love to see straw bale houses. They are affordable and won’t cost the earth.

The climate emergency planning policy consultation and guidance will continue until Thursday 21 April 2022.

Online comments are available.

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