In Sussex, the Regional Group has focussed on planning policy and implementing LES at new development sites. In parallel, the group is working with partners on a regional electric vehicle charging network.
Sussex is developing a draft "Air Quality and Emission Mitigation Guidance for Sussex" to link LES and mitigation directly into development applications with or without AQ assessments. This guidance is intended to assist planners and developers at pre-application stage to ensure air quality and emission mitigation is taken into account at the start of the process and to ensure an open and clear approach is understood by developers with regard to mitigating for any potential air quality impacts. The guidance will incorporate the Low Emission Toolkit as an option for developers to assess potential mitigation options for developments. A workshop was held on 28 September with Sussex planners to consult and feedback on the guidance. The guidance will be released for general consultation by the end of 2012.
An LEZ feasibility study is also underway. The project aims to assess emission reduction options for Sussex AQMAs and develop implementation strategies backed by health evidence. The project has been underway since January 2012 and will run through to 2014.
Sussex-Air is working with Sussex authorities, Southern Rail, Gatwick Airport plus public authorities across Hampshire, Kent and Surrey to develop the EV South East network. The network will link all EV charging points into one "open" public network, firstly across Sussex and then across the South East. The network will enable EV drivers to turn-up and charge without the need to join a scheme, making it the first "open" EV network in the SE. Having the network will encourage local authorities to join-up their EV points, encourage developers to consider EV points within or associated to their developments as their clients will have an established network to use on their doorstep. The website and launch of the network is due in October 2012.
The Sussex group is integrating Low Emissions Strategies (LES) into planning policy through a range of policy measures. Practical outcomes include a community car club in Lewes and the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the region.
The combined impact of emissions from new developments contributes to poor air quality and increases greenhouse gases. Currently, air quality assessment addresses only those developments deemed to have a ‘significant’ impact on air quality. However, site-based Low Emission Strategies can help minimise emissions from all developments. The Sussex Regional Group identified a need to include ‘policy hooks’ within the relevant planning frameworks to support the implementation of Low Emission Strategies. A core aim of the group is the inclusion of strong policy statements on climate change and air quality within LDFs.
A regional SPD template is being developed for Sussex based on guidance from the LES partnership, and best practice examples from other authorities. SPDs will be used to provide guidance for planning based low emission strategies, which could support initiatives like car clubs and electric vehicle infrastructure. As part of this work a workshop was held with the Royal Town Planning Institute in December 2010.
Alongside the policy work, the use of planning obligations to control emissions is being pioneered by Lewes District Council. "The Common Wheels Community Car Club" has been launched in Lewes, with finance from a developer secured through a section 106 agreement. Local authorities within the regional group are working with developers to agree further measures at new development sites.
The group is working with partners to develop a regional electric vehicle charging network. Twenty spaces have been secured for electric vehicle charging points in West Sussex, six in Brighton and Hove and three in East Sussex. Plans are being made to extend the network into Hampshire and Surrey.
RGI project plan - PDF Document (10kb)