A ground-breaking policy framework for how a partnership of councils will address climate change and achieve carbon-net-zero across Central Lincolnshire has been approved.
In line with each of the four councils’ intentions to act on climate change and promote more environmentally resilient communities, a refresh of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan brings forward an ambitious range of policy interventions considered necessary to reach that goal across North Kesteven, West Lindsey and the City of Lincoln.
A joint committee made up of councillors representing North Kesteven and West Lindsey district councils, City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire County Council has approved a series of changes to the current adopted Local Plan.
This new version of the plan will now be subject to a final public review between mid-March and early May, prior to submission to, and consideration by, a Government-appointed planning inspector through a process called an examination in public.
Members agreed by majority vote that the plan is ‘both sound and robust’ with policies which, when taken as a whole, are sufficient and necessary to sensitively and sustainably equip communities across Central Lincolnshire for the next two decades, mapping out a carbon-net-zero future.
This will ensure the right number of homes in the right places, coupled with the right infrastructure and jobs opportunities, whilst protecting and promoting distinct and valued characteristics of the area and its environment.
Using the existing Local Plan as a starting point, in March 2020 the committee sought to investigate how it could effectively reduce carbon emissions in Central Lincolnshire. In March 2021 it agreed to consult on series of proposed policies which would collectively move Central Lincolnshire to becoming a net-zero sub-region, including a detailed framework for determining commercial-scale renewable energy schemes.
From an eight-week period of consultation last summer, more than 400 responses, have been taken into consideration in finalising the now-approved submission.
Committee chairman and Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Owen Bierley said, “In simple terms, having approved the plan and associated policies, the committee is stating that it considers the Local Plan to be both final and sound and that, subject to the outcome of the independent examination, it intends to adopt the Local Plan as presented today.
“Throughout the process the Committee has acted as one, developing the policies within the plan, providing a clear steer for what Central Lincolnshire should seek to become and how the Local Plan should help deliver this goal; providing a clear vision for what the plan needs to achieve for Central Lincolnshire,” he said.
As a strategic framework under which every planning application is considered and determined by the appropriate local council, the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan guides the way in which development is planned, phased and permitted across the combined area.
· The supply of housing to meet growth needs, calculated at 29,150 new homes up to 2040, at a rate of 1,325 per year – accommodating population increase and new jobs to help drive the local economy;
· Provision to support some 14,890 new jobs; which is an increase of 677 jobs each year;
· High standards of energy and resource efficient construction;
· Capacity to generate enough renewable energy to meet local needs, through a variety of means suited to local circumstances;
· Significant biodiversity gains;
· Development that is well-designed, sustainable and meets the needs of everyone;
· Infrastructure to increase levels of active travel – walking and cycling – and reduce reliance on vehicles; and
· Promotion of waste minimisation, water efficiency and greater re-use through a circular economy model.
· A policy designed to safeguard the future of the RAF Scampton site, highlighting it as an “opportunity area” whilst also protecting its heritage assets.
Past committee chairman and Leader of North Kesteven District Council, Cllr Richard Wright said the committee could be confident that the measures contained within the new Submission Local Plan were informed by evidence and had been viewed objectively by residents.
“It is gratifying to know that they have looked at it and they agree with us that the policies we have set in place are sound and fit for shaping a sustainable future for Central Lincolnshire,” he said.
In respect of the policies which detail provision for a renewable energy mix sufficient to satisfy local needs, he said there had ‘never been a more important time to make sure we are looking to clean, available and affordable renewable energy’.
“Taking up the challenges and opportunities presented by the climate emergency, we have identified what we need to do through policy interventions if we are to achieve carbon-net-zero for the area. It is clear that these are needed in totality and the submission plan we have now agreed to move forward is the most sustainable way to achieve that goal.
“Ultimately, this plan will achieve positive outcomes for the people of Central Lincolnshire, for its communities, its economy and its environment,” said Cllr Wright.
Committee vice-chairman and City of Lincoln Council Leader Cllr Ric Metcalfe said: “In working together we have taken a shared approach in mapping out a positive, vibrant and sustainable future for Central Lincolnshire that works for us all, protects what we cherish and welcomes and seizes the opportunities that are open to us going forward.
“It will ensure Central Lincolnshire remains a pleasant place to live, work and visit, with high-quality homes and jobs in the right locations for a growing population, protecting communities from harmful development, delivering substantial biodiversity gain and facilitating the area to become carbon-net-zero as a key part of addressing the climate change emergency.”
Notes to Editors:
· A video featuring comments from key members of the committee can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/683371590/ea270f8d46
· Detail of the forthcoming consultation period will follow.
· For more details on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan – and location of the relevant documents – see the dedicated website. https://www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/central-lincolnshire/local-plan