North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Challenges and Choices Part 1: Challenges for the Future

Local Plan 2038: Challenges for the Future

Challenge 1: Climate Emergency

Climate Emergency - how will addressing this influence new development?

North Somerset like many other local authorities has declared a climate emergency and our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 is a key objective. The type and location of development will need to be guided by higher sustainability standards than we have applied in the past and balanced with the need to provide homes and support the economy.

Passivehaus NS 3All new buildings will be expected to meet more stringent standards regarding energy use, design and construction. Buildings will need to be more resilient to climate extremes with more focus on orientation and design.

Flooding is a major concern in North Somerset with about one third of the district currently regarded as being at risk. This is likely to increase with further climate change. The starting point must be to avoid or limit development in the areas at most risk of flooding (Flood Zones 3a and 3b). This avoids the need for expensive flood infrastructure, potentially enabling more investment in other aspects.

A large part of our carbon footprint comes from travelling. However, the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that remote working has reduced the need to travel. We must prioritise walking and cycling for those who are able and where this is not possible encourage the provision of high-quality public transport. Locating new development where more people can walk and cycle to work, school, and leisure facilities rather than commuting by car will make a significant difference and will be healthier for us and the environment. Mixing uses together so that employment, childcare, education and shops can all be easily accessed will help cut down the number of separate journeys people need to make.

Having a variety of accessible and usable green spaces in our new developments not only looks good and makes us feel better but also soaks up carbon, reduces temperatures and provides space for wildlife. Street trees and wildlife areas should be integrated into new developments. We also need to make sure rain water is managed to reduce localised flooding problems. Often this can be combined with creating ponds and ditches which are good for wildlife and add interest.

QUESTION 3: Are you concerned that climate change may impact you or your family, business or local community in the future? And if so in what way?