Planning for the Climate Emergency

Last Updated: 3 April 2024

South Lakeland District Council declared a Climate Emergency in February 2019 and is committed to working towards carbon neutrality as an organisation by 2030 and as a district by 2037.

More information about what we are doing to address the climate and ecological emergencies, can be found in our Climate Action Plan.

New development must clearly play its part in helping to reduce carbon emissions in South Lakeland and help our communities adapt to the impacts and risks of a changing climate.

We have a number of existing planning policies across our adopted local plan which relate to the Climate Emergency and the role that planning can play in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Going forward, we will be strengthening our local planning policies through our local plan review.

In the meantime, we have produced an Interim Planning Statement (PDF 347KB / 9 pages) to:

  • highlight the existing policies from our Local Plan that require developments to mitigate and adapt to climate change
  • underline that the climate emergency is a material consideration in determining planning applications
  • introduce a climate emergency checklist to be submitted alongside planning applications

The statement is a ‘live’ document that will be periodically updated to reflect changes in national legislation and policy, and to ensure it remains relevant.

Below are the questions in our Climate Emergency Checklist, which we will use to assess proposals for new homes, business and commercial development and infrastructure projects, to make sure they are doing all they can to respond to the climate emergency. This list will form part of our formal validation checklist following its next update, and in the meantime we will be using these questions ourselves to assess proposals and will be encouraging applicants to complete the checklist.

  1. Is the development located and designed in a way that it will enable people to choose sustainable transport modes (walking, cycling, public transport)?
  2. Does the development prioritise the re-use of land and buildings, and use sustainable building materials (taking account of their full lifecycle) and construction methods?
  3. Does the development identify opportunities to increase the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources, including opportunities for on-site renewable and low carbon technologies?
  4. Does the development carefully consider how it will achieve biodiversity net gains and incorporate green/blue infrastructure to mitigate and respond to climate change? (e.g. tree planting to absorb carbon and provide shade from overheating, wetland SuDS features to manage flood risk, green routes for active travel etc)
  5. Has the development proposal identified how the development might be at risk from local climate change impacts (e.g. flooding, overheating) and explained how it has been designed in a way to adapt to climate change, increase resilience and protect people from its impacts?
  6. Does the development promote sustainable waste management, through applying the waste hierarchy, providing sufficient space for recycling facilities and considering a zero waste to landfill approach?
  7. Does the development’s design and layout promote energy conservation? (e.g. through the orientation of properties and construction materials and methods?)
  8. Does the development include the specific measures listed in Appendix 1 of the Development Management Policies DPD (2MB / 119 pages) to help respond to the climate emergency?