Teignbridge Progress with the Climate and Ecological Emergency

Cllr. Jackie Hook, executive member for Climate Change, Flooding and Coastal Defence reported to Teignbridge District Council’s (TDC) Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 9th February 2021.

Here is a video clip of her report

She reported on TDC’s work on Climate change and the Ecological Emergency:

  • TDC appointed William Elliot in February 2020 as Climate Change Officer
  • TDC has met regularly with ACT to discuss direction and progress on the climate and ecological agenda.
  • In October 2019 policy S7 of the current local plan was amended to uplift the carbon reduction by 2030 from 42% to 48%. The carbon calculator has been updated to only consider building emissions.
  • A new draft local plan for 2020 – 2040 has been published including a whole chapter on climate change and went to consultation March to July 2020.
  • University of Exeter is developing a low carbon strategy to determine where and how renewable energy generation and low carbon development should feature in the district, and will feature in Part 2 of the local plan.
  • South West Exeter District Heating Network will supply low-carbon heat to 2,500 new homes, using waste energy from Matford.
  • Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles policy
  • Rapid EV Chargers in Chudleigh and Buckfastleigh as part of Highways England Scheme.
  • Authority participating in DELETTI and will install double rapid EV chargers in four of Teignbridge’s AQMAs.
  • Shortlist of 12 sites selected in collaboration with parish councils for On-street Residential Charging Scheme (ORSCS) in car parks.
  • Draft local plan requires installation of EV chargers in new development.
  • Joint bid submitted under the Cosy Devon partnership to delivery energy efficiency improvements for low-income households. A further bid for £1.14M has been submitted to deliver authority led improvements.
  • The Authority has participated in the Solar Together scheme. 917 solar PV and 153 battery storage systems are proposed as part of the scheme across Devon.
  • Low-carbon social housing projects include Drake Road, East Street and Sherbourne House. These will achieve high carbon and energy standard and feature Air Source Heat Pumps and EV charging points.
  • William Elliot has been measuring the authority’s own carbon footprint, annually Scope 1 & 2 emissions are 2Mt CO2 and Scope 3 emissions 6.7Mt
  • The Authority is currently working on a Carbon Action Plan to identify a cost and carbon efficient pathway to becoming carbon neutral, which will cover about 40 projects across 15 buildings owned by the authority. A budget of £E3.6M over 2021-2024 has been allocated, and a grant application for £3.1M has been submitted covering seven sites, which could deliver a combined reduction of 400 tonnes of CO2/yr. A full report will be submitted to Executive Council in April 2021.
  • TDC is a signatory of the Devon Climate Emergency and is supporting the Devon Carbon Plan, the consultation on the interim plan has just ended, following a Citizen’s Assembly the final Devon Carbon Plan is due for adoption by Local Authorities in summer 2021.
  • Following the declaration of an Ecological emergency in September 2020, plans are in hand to plant 1,500 trees in Q1 2021 in partnership with the Woodland Trust and Idverde. A tree strategy is progressing and a draft will be available for consultation in Q1 2021. The Authority has committted £5,000 to Devon Wildlife Trust to support a habitat mapping exercise.
  • It was reported that ACT’s Wildlife Warden Scheme has received 75 applications and has trained 50 wardens to date.

December 2020 Wildlife Warden Newsletter

In a year that has been difficult for everyone, it has been immensely uplifting to see so many people enthusiastic about helping nature bounce back. Thanks to all of you for the time and energy that you have put into this scheme. At the time of writing, we have almost 50 Wildlife Wardens signed up , representing 24 of the 54 parishes in Teignbridge. I look forward to seeing your great ideas being implemented in 2021!    

Continue reading…

TDC debate Ecological Emergency

Teignbridge District council are to debate an Ecological Emergency declaration tomorrow Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 10:00am at the Full Council Meeting.

You can watch it live on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/TeignbridgeDC/videos. The video will be posted once the meeting starts.

You can read the full text of the motion here.

New Government Proposals impose 1532 houses a year on Teignbridge

The government is conducting a consultation entitled “Changes to The Current Planning System”, which include proposed changes to the formula for calculation of housing numbers.

When applied to 2020 this formula requires 1532 houses a year, whereas the previous formula required 760 houses.

Summary of our concerns

  • The absence of parallel policies to limit the significant increase in GHG emissions goes against the UK’s Paris commitments on Climate Change
  • Extrapolating historic growth to predict future demand is unsustainable, unrealistic and unnecessary
  • Undue weight is given to workplace affordability now and 10 years ago
  • The Workplace Affordability Criteria proposed is likely to build houses in the wrong places and increase commuter miles
  • Workplace affordability does not take into account the major projected growth which is in pensioner households.
  • The assumption that house prices are simply determined by supply/demand is misguided
  • Imposing significant government targets to the housing market without safeguards or limits is likely to exacerbate boom/bust cycles
  • A rushed consultation for a policy change with significant impact on some local communities

What is the formula

The formula is calculated from:

An annual baseline is set by dividing the growth in household numbers over 10 years by 10.

This baseline is multiplied by an adjustment derived from workplace affordability and the difference between workplace affordability now and 10 years earlier.

The formula is designed to add at least 300,000 new houses per year in England.

Full details of the formula and a worked example are given in our detailed paper.

Growth in household numbers

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ONS project a 7,920 growth in Teignbridge household numbers between 2020 and 2030. The chart on the right shows that the majority of these will be pensioners. Of those who are of working age it is likely that a significant proportion will be commuters.

Growth of 7920 over 10 years gives an annual baseline of 792 houses.

Workplace affordability

Workplace affordability is median house prices divided by median workplace earnings. So is a measure of the relationship of house prices in Teignbridge to pay in Teignbridge. The following chart shows the workplace affordability now and 10 years ago over the last few years:

Both now and 10 years ago affordability has been falling, which means that houses are becoming more affordable. 10 years ago we were recovering from a financial crisis and in 2010 after the general election the housing market stalled, causing a low in house prices and so affordability.

The government’s stated purpose in to have a formula which is reactive to deterioration in affordability in areas that are growing, such as areas of the Northern Powerhouse. Comparison with 10 years ago in this case fails because slight changes now are dwarfed by big changes 10 years ago.

The adjustments calculated using affordability over the last few years are shown below:

The adjustment varies considerably from year to year and does not have to have a relationship to recent changes in availability.

As many worker commute out of the district and the majority of household growth is in the older non-working population, we don’t think that workplace affordability is an appropriate measure.

Age based affordability

We have calculated affordability for pensioners aged under 75, and those aged 75 and over, based on median gross incomes for England. Currently pensioner incomes in the South West are higher that nationally:

This suggests that affordability for older pensioners is about the same as for the working population, but affordability is substantially lower for younger pensioners. This only considers earnings, it does not consider the larger capital resources that pensioners can have in housing, pensions and other investments.

Residential Affordability

Residential earnings are the earnings of residents of a district.

Residential affordability is median house price divided by median residential earnings.

ONS also publish median residential earnings for each financial year, so we can compare median residential and workplace earnings.

Residential earnings for Teignbridge are consistently higher that workplace earnings.

Comparison with Exeter

We have also considered the relationship of residential and workplace earnings in Exeter, and see an opposite relationship:

Here residential earnings are lower than workplace earnings, though recently the two have converged.

The effect of using residential earnings, rather than workplace earnings would be to make affordability lower in Teignbridge, and in earlier years higher in Exeter. This would result in more houses in Exeter and fewer in Teignbridge.

This would mean that more people who worked in Exeter lived in Exeter, so there would be less commuting, which would be likely to be by car.

What has this to do with climate change?

When a traditionally built house is constructed there are about 60tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (t CO2e) of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Building 1532 additional houses would cause embedded emissions of 93kT CO2e which is about half Teignbridge’s domestic emissions of 182kT CO2e (for 2018). On this basis the previous formula’s 760 houses would have emitted 46kT CO2e.

We have also demonstrated that using residential earnings would lead to more homes being built in areas with high earnings, which would lead to less commuting.

In 2018 road transport emissions for Teignbridge were 402 ktCO2e of which 329.8 ktCO2e were on A roads and motorways. These roads account for 45% of all emissions produced in Teignbridge.

The following map shows these emissions allocated according to traffic flows in the road network in Teignbridge.

An interactive version of this map can be found here.

Are 300,000 houses per year needed

ONS project that between 2020 and 2030 1.6 million households will be formed in England, nowhere near 3 million.

The consultation says: “The Government has based the proposed new approach on a number of principles for reform. These include ensuring that the new standard method delivers a number nationally that is consistent with the commitment to plan for the delivery of 300,000 new homes a year, a focus on achieving a more appropriate distribution of homes, and on targeting more homes into areas where they are least affordable.” 

So the new standard method for calculating housing numbers takes into account existing housing stock, as well as projected household growth. It also puts more emphasis on affordability by taking into account changes over time, and it inflates the final number by removing the 40% cap that currently applies.

Building 300,000 houses a year, rather than 160,000 means that 140,000 extra houses will be built. Using 60t per house, embedded emissions from these additional houses will be 8.4Mt , UK GHG emissions in 2019 were 351.5Mt, so this is unnecessary housebuilding could add 2.4% to UK emissions each year.

It would be better to reduce new housing numbers, and divert building trades resources to retro-fitting existing buildings so that these are as energy efficient as possible.

Research by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence provides an alternative, and in our view more plausible explanation of the causes. Housing evidence has calculated that there were 1.12million surplus houses by March 2018, and that taking this into account net additions to housing stock exceed household formations.

In Teignbridge, since compatible records began in 2001, 497 houses have been completed than households formed. In addition there have been changes of use, conversions and retrofits that have effectively increased the housing stock, that are not counted in new build housing numbers.

In Teignbridge it is doubtful that building more houses will have much effect on affordability, because the majority of new housing that is built is out of reach for people on Teignbridge median earnings, and will mainly be bought by people whose income comes from outside the district. If house prices were to drop such that development was unprofitable, developers would just stop building and wait for the situation to correct.

We agree that tackling some of the other causes would be more effective:

  • Privatisation of council housing
  • Relaxation of restrictions on buy to let mortgages
  • Low median incomes
  • The lack of income progression recently in early careers.
  • Difficulty of accessing mortgage finance.
  • Competition with buy-to-let landlords.
  • Speculative purchase of housing as an investment asset, particularly by foreign buyers.

Unfortunately the government is intent on building 300,000 houses a year, so the consultation doesn’t offer much opportunity to comment on that.

Timetable for Teignbridge Local Plan

The consultation gives a tight timetable for submission of part 2 plans in order to be exempt from these requirements.

The current timetable for the Teignbridge local plan can be found here https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/planning/local-plans-and-policy/local-development-scheme/

This starts development of part 2 of the plan in January 2021, and consults on sites in the period leading to September 2021. This plan is then submitted for inspection in April 2023. If the new formula is adopted by the end of 2020, then in order to be exempt from the new requirements, the council will have until September 2021 to submit a plan to the inspector. This sounds like an extremely challenging contraction of the planning process.

It is therefore likely that TDC will be obliged to comply with this formula, and so will need to identify additional sites, which will extend the plan timetable further.

Detailed Analysis

Our in depth analysis can be found here

Responding to the consultation

You can respond online to the consultation here.

The deadline for responses is 11:45pm on 1st October 2020.

Our response to the housing numbers part of the consultation is available here , and has been submitted online.

ACT responds to Teignbridge Local Plan consultation

The ACT coordinating group is preparing a response to the TDC Local Plan consultation.  We have prepared an initial draft response here.

Your input/comments are very much welcomed, please send these to fuad@actionclimateteignbridge.org

It is important that everyone responds to this consultation by the 15th June as the new Local Plan will shape development in Teignbridge for the next 20 years.  It is a key opportunity to demonstrate community support so the council is strengthened in its resolve to put Climate Change at the centre of everything it does. 

We will share a final version before the consultation closes, you can use this or the current draft to help you prepare your own response.

Carbon Calculator released

We have developed a carbon calculator which is simple to use and will enable you to track your carbon footprint from year to year.

The calculator covers everything you and your household consume including domestic energy use, transport, food and stuff. Domestic energy use and car use are based on accurate readings. As well as accounting for petrol and diesel cars, plugin-in cars are also handled. The food section’s calculation is based on both your diet type and expenditure. Spending on goods is based on expenditure, with a fixed amount for services.

The calculator allows you to store your results for each year, and sets an annual target for each of the following years.

After a period of use for the spreadsheet based calculator, we will introduce a web application which will reflect feedback you give us on this calculator.

You can download the calculator and read more about it here.

Teignbridge Wildlife Watchers on Facebook

A message to all ACT members with an interest in Wildlife.
To help wildlife, find new friends, keep people in touch and encourage them to share the wildlife they see on their daily walk, we’ve just started a Teignbridge Wildlife Watchers Facebook Page.

You can Like and Follow it by going to this facebook page or go onto your Facebook page, click ‘Find Friends’ and put in Teignbridge Wildlife Watchers. You don’t have to be a member of ACT to use this page, so you can share it with all of your friends in Teignbridge. When you post a photo, video or observation, try to remember to put your Parish in the Post, so we can get some useful wildlife info from it!

If you aren’t on Facebook, you can look at the Page, but you won’t be able to post your wildlife notes; maybe you could email them to a friend who does Facebook and ask them to put your observations on the Page for you? If there is a demand, we could possibly start an email group for people who don’t want to use Facebook . 

Covid19 is bringing great sadness and suffering – but it is also bringing hope for the future of our planet. Worldwide, virus precautions are shrinking our footprints and our pollution (it’s even reduced the death rate for people who have been made ill by polluted air) and it may be giving our climate and wildlife its last chance for survival. The question is, can we keep our footprints small and continue to make our wild places bigger when the virus has dwindled? We need your help and encouragement to do it!

Decarbonising Transport setting the Challenge

DfT has launched Decarbonising Transport setting the Challenge. This recognises that current and planned policies will not result in net zero by 2050. This consultation plans to produce a Transport Decarbonisation Plan within 7 months.

Details of the challenge can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876251/decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

This document reviews current and already proposed future policies towards meeting net zero by 2050. The challenge recognises that these policies alone will not achieve net zero. Public participation in the challenge will take the form of:

  • Stakeholder Events
  • Workshops
  • On going public engagement

You can share your views on decarbonising transport, register to receive regular updates on the progress of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and information about the consultation workshops by emailing TDP@dft.gov.uk.

We will publish our views and hope to take part as an organisation.

Teignbridge District Council Local Plan Review

On 23rd March Teignbridge District Council announced the Local Plan 2020-2040 Review. The review survey runs until 15th June 2020, and ACT will be publishing a response towards the end of April.

Details of the local plan review can be found at https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/planning/local-plans-and-policy/local-plan-review-2020-2040/

Transport Documents Updated

Transport related documents have been updated to reflect comments received. These are the Parish Pack, Transport Policy and the TECs Electric Vehicles review.

We have published updated versions of:

Transport Policy

This has been updated to reflect comments made in response to the original release. Updates include a new section on the national speed limit, and revision of the carbon calculator section to reflect recent progress.

EVs document

This document provides an extensive review of the pros and cons of buying an EV, subjects covered include:

  • Introduction to EVs including types of EVs
  • History of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
  • Travel Range
  • Emissions including comparison with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV), NOx emissions, non tailpipe emissions
  • Manufacture and disposal emissions and the use of Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite and rare earths. Recycling of batteries and Lifespan.
  • Efficiency and payback calculations compared with similar ICEV.
  • Efficiency of Rapid Charging
  • Driving, Towing, Insurance and taxation
  • Charging, connector types, different types of chargers

Mapping Teignbridge Transport emissions

We have recently produced detailed mapping of transport emissions in Teignbridge. This mapping shows estimated emissions from each road, and assigns these to Parishes and Census output areas.

This mapping can be viewed on our Maps and Data page.