Solar panels on house roofs in a forest area.

New survey shows sustainability is top of councillors’ planning priorities

Our national survey of councillors has shown that sustainability and environmental concerns are now the most important priority for councillors when making planning decisions, and the factor most likely to have increased in importance over the past 12 months. 

The report, commissioned by BECG and conducted by Savanta ComRes, also found the importance of sustainability and the environment is higher among planning committee members than any other committee group. 

The report comes at a time when 65% of UK councils have declared climate emergencies and the government has pledged to achieve net zero by 2050.  

The most important sustainability measure identified by councillors was to provide sustainable transport connections (67% ranking this in their top three sustainability measures), closely followed by efficient insulation (65%) and the use of natural lighting/heating/ventilation to minimise energy use (61%). These were overwhelmingly more important than the others canvassed. 

The report also identifies trends relating to geography, political party and age, which include: 

  • Twice as many Labour councillors rate solar panels as their most important sustainability measure compared to Conservatives. 
  • 44% of younger councillors (aged 18-34) value the protection of biodiversity, compared to 27% of those aged 65+. 
  • Only 15% of young councillors (aged 18-34) see solar panels as important, but 29% value electric car charging points. 
  • Councillors in the north rank sustainable transport, effective insulation and use of natural lighting/heating/ventilation to minimise energy use as slightly more important than those in the south. 

Stephen Pomeroy, Chief Executive of BECG commented: 

BECG is working with both public and private sectors to have a conversation about net zeroProviding a platform for the development industry to explain how it has adapted to the climate emergency whilst creating an opportunity to help shape local and national policy.

We will be arranging a series of events to discuss our conclusions and identify how the sector can better position itself on this important issue.

 

Complete the form below to download the Sustainability Secures Priority in Planning Report 2020 or if you would like to talk more about net zero and its impact on the built environment sector, please contact me on 020 3697 7646 or at netzero@becg.com.