NORTH KINGSTON NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY PROPOSALS

NORTH KINGSTON NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY PROPOSALS

SUMMARY, February 2020

These proposals were drafted for the North Kingston Neighbourhood Plan by interested members of the North Kingston community, chaired by a KEF representative and assisted by Transition Town Kingston’s Energy Group and other members of KEF. 

They were intended for inclusion in an Environment section of the Neighbourhood Plan, as well as incorporation into Design, Green infrastructure/active travel, Business/commercial, Biodiversity/local amenities/parks sections, wherever relevant and feasible. They represent our ideal at the time, and some have survived several redrafts of the Neighbourhood Plan and local consultations. 

In the context of Kingston Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration (2019) and ongoing consultations and/or revisions of building regulations and national, regional and local planning policies and frameworks, we would like to see the best, most sustainable of the policies that emerge implemented, prioritised, and even strengthened in the Neighbourhood Plan...

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AIMS

  • Environment Policy Proposal on air quality – to ensure that our air is fit to breathe, and is not causing or exacerbating health problems.
  • Environment Policy Proposals on energy efficiency and energy generation– to promote housing that keeps us warm in cold weather and cool during heatwaves while reducing energy consumption and waste, including the wastefulness of light pollution (Environment Policy Proposal 3), as well as reducing air pollution and CO2 emissions; and to help tackle climate change by generating renewable energy where feasible.
  • Environment Policy Proposal on sustainable transport– to improve public health and air quality by encouraging active travel by making our streets safer and pleasanter for walking and cycling, for all ages and abilities, alongside good public transport for longer journeys.
  • Environment Policy Proposal on flood risk – to ensure the safety of local homes, businesses and people by taking all feasible steps to reduce overall flood risk and ensure that new developments and other building work in the North Kingston Neighbourhood area are not in zones subject to flood risk and do not increase local flood risk in other ways.
  • Environment Policy Proposal on green infrastructure and biodiversity– to maintain and enhance North Kingston’s natural features such as parks, riverbank, allotments, gardens and trees, and to ensure that new developments of all kinds contribute to local green infrastructure and eco-system services.

 

RATIONALE

The place where we live has an important influence on how easy it is for us to live happy, healthy lives. Looking after and improving our local environment and making North Kingston a healthier and more attractive place has benefits for all of us and for future residents of North Kingston. Our aims, expressed above, were widely supported in the local consultations carried out in summer 2018.  

The reasons for the interrelated proposals above on local environmental issues include:

  • Air quality: air pollution affects everyone, its health impacts are well understood and it needs to be addressed locally as well as regionally and nationally.
  • Energy efficiency and Light Pollution: energy efficiency measures offer economic and health benefits, as well helping to improve local air quality.
  • Sustainable transport: the potential benefits to public health and the lack of good public transport links in some parts of North Kingston increase the importance of walking and cycling as modes of transport.
  • Flood risk: floods can ruin businesses, homes and personal possessions, affect well-being and even cost lives. Increased rainfall caused by climate change and local densification could increase pressure on drainage systems.
  • Green infrastructure and biodiversity: our gardens, parks and other green spaces can mitigate many of the above problems as well as providing places where we can enjoy time outdoors in natural surroundings and which improve public health and well-being.

 

PROPOSALS

Proposed new buildings and developments [including extensions and back garden developments] may be supported when they:

-          comply with design standards that require higher standards of energy efficiency than current Building Regulations (2017), for example that use: comprehensive insulation; air-tightness along with ventilation such as heat recovery systems; natural light and appropriate lighting where needed; efficient heating and water usage; clean, low- or no- emission, efficient heat and power systems, natural cooling systems;

-          generate at least a proportion of the energy they use, via, as examples: solar PV; solar hot water systems; heat pumps; waste to energy; energy storage);

-          minimise wasted energy and light pollution by ensuring that new public lighting is the minimum required for the task, on when needed and not otherwise, and optimally directed lighting is used on the riverside

-          re flooding - entail no net loss of drainage, or provide for a net gain in drainage and rain-water storage to compensate for past neglect and increased population

-          fully consult and take advice from Kingston Council and the Environment Agency, and include sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) such as green roofs and rain gardens, and/or storage and use of rainwater; ensure that all hard surfaces are permeable or well drained by SuDS , along with proper long-term maintenance plans for SuDs;

-          create mixed-use developments, with provision of local community resources, e g, shops, clinics, and other services, to reduce the need for car use);

-          re transport: encourage car clubs and car-sharing and provide limited parking for private cars {mainly for the disabled?]

-          encourage clean and sustainable modes of transport, by: including generous provision of recharging points for electric vehicles; ensuring that developments are permeable by pedestrians and contribute to an improved network of local pedestrian paths, with safe, wide pavements, good accessibility for the disabled and push chairs, and appropriate signage, including heritage design where appropriate; creating and making good links to quiet cycling routes; and providing plentiful and secure cycle storage and cycle parking, and, in workplaces, showers and lockers

-          plan for well publicised and implemented travel plans for schools and businesses

-          contribute to safer road layouts such as traffic calming and road crossings

-          provide appropriate loading bays for commercial deliveries/collections

-          include new public green spaces, green corridors and wildlife-friendly shrubs and trees, including large and mature trees along with effective plans for maintenance and replanting as needed;

-          carry out a Biodiversity Survey, clearly identify and quantify ecological features, and take steps to conserve existing green spaces and natural features, habitats and biodiversity, or provide appropriate and timely mitigation for lost natural characteristics or habitats

-          commit to best practice on dust and other air pollution management during construction;

-          include plans to scope impacts on local infrastructure such as roads, drains, community facilities etc.

There will be a presumption against new buildings and developments that will:

-          waste energy or Increase local light pollution;

-          be built in areas at risk of flooding, or will have the effect of overloading the local drainage systems;

-          will raise the risk of local flooding from rainfall runoff by increasing the impermeable area, or Including fully tanked cellars or basements without taking steps to mitigate flood risk, or employing large scale private flood defences;

-          cause or encourage increased polluting road traffic;

-          block useful walking or cycle routes;

-          cause loss of or encroachment on green spaces, or destroy or damage trees or other habitats, or use artificial grass

-          block green corridors and decrease connectivity and thus the resilience of local wildlife;

-          offer biodiversity off-setting in the first instance - off-setting being acceptable only as a last resort where there is no alternative.