Planning and environmental charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) have welcomed the Government Office for Science's Foresight report �Powering Our Lives: Sustainable Energy Management and the Built Environment' published today which includes the Association's recommendation that new developments should be used to contribute to the energy efficiency of the existing stock.

This important study - for which TCPA is a member of the project’s High Level Stakeholder Group - looks at how the UK built environment could evolve to help manage the transition to secure and sustainable low carbon energy systems that meet both social and economic objectives Kate Henderson, TCPA Communications and Energy Policy Manager, said: “The demands on planning and the built environment have never been greater as we seek to deal with the dual challenges of climate change and housing growth. Only about 1% of the building stock is replaced each year so the scope for reducing overall emissions without tackling the existing stock is limited.

The recommendation in the Foresight report that where possible new developments should be used to contribute to the energy efficiency of the existing stock, is exactly what the TCPA has been calling for. New developments can bring about new local renewable energy provision which can supply existing nearby communities or where this is not feasible developers can support insulation programmes in adjacent housing. Either way this can make a useful contribution to reducing carbon emissions from our existing homes.”

The Foresight study is extremely timely, being published in a week where the Government has pledged to extend the Renewables Obligation (RO) by 10 years to 2037 in the Pre Budget Report, but the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee reported it’s skepticism that the government could meet a proposed EU target of generating 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Kate Henderson added: “While the TCPA welcome the continued support of the Renewables Obligation announced by the Chancellor on Monday, the skeptical House of Lords report may be damaging for the UK’s renewable industry.

The TCPA believes that high level political commitment is needed in order to drive change and reinforce the urgent need for action on climate change.”