On Your Marks, Offset, Go

This is an exclusive blog by planning expert Mitch Cooke, founder of Greengage Environmental LLP.

One of the biggest hurdles to the installation of renewable technologies at site is the capital cost of the equipment. The additional costs of a roof covered in PV can mean the difference to a healthy project and one with marginal viability. However, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) now have a new route for developments to address policy without the project requiring on-site low or zero carbon technologies.

What LPAs are now offering is the ability for new developments to pay for emissions from their project to be offset, or achieved, elsewhere through an LPA-administered carbon reduction fund. For development this means that where a constricted site cannot meet policy goals, development teams should contact the local authority and find out the costs for making up the shortfall to their emissions reduction target. In this manner the project’s costs to achieve policy goals can be managed and lettable/saleable area can be maximized to the benefit of project viability.

Whether the emissions savings achieved through the LPA carbon reduction fund wouldn’t have happened in future years is an issue for the LPAs concerned but the acceptance that some projects are hard to treat is a welcome move forward in the mission to reduce new building emissions.’