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Special - Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes Town and Country Planning Association European Union

Press Releases

Mar 2015

How can local authorities plan for district heating projects

The future of the UK’s energy market is undergoing one of the most uncertain times of a generation as it faces the challenges of limited capacity and security.  Furthermore, as our climate continues to warm, our towns and cities will be forced to cope with extreme weather scenarios.  It is clear that the UK must find ways of securing more energy and from less carbon intensive sources if it is to mitigate the impacts of climate change and meet the European Union’s targets to generate at least 20 percent of energy with renewables by 2020.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) will today deliver a training seminar exploring how spatial planning can help to embed district heating strategies and visions into local plans and prioritise specific heat networks for delivery. Featuring speakers from across the public and third sectors, the events will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about using planning to address economic viability and feasibility issues for district heating, and will explore best practice masterplanning for heat networks from other local authorities in the UK and across Europe.

The seminar will be held as part of the TCPA Intelligent Energy Europe funded SPECIAL project, a pan-European partnership focusing on spatial planning for the deployment of local energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. 

Diane Smith, Head of European Affairs at the TCPA said:
““Climate change is one of the most significant challenges that we face today, and communities are already feeling the devastating impacts of extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, in the era of local authority budget cuts, and energy insecurity, the UK energy market is facing a particularly challenging time.”

“Spatial planning has a crucial role to play in bringing decentralised energy projects forward, identifying and securing sites for the expansion of sustainable energy generation and distribution, and, in supporting the low-carbon energy supply needed for the future.  However, to achieve this, it is vital that we build the capacity of local authorities to secure planning policies that encourage and, where appropriate, require district heating in new developments as well as introduce energy efficiency in existing towns and cities”

SPECIAL, which was launched in 2013, is a partnership of eight Town Planning Associations (TPAs) across Europe in the UK, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Germany and Austria, and aims to build the capacity of municipalities to integrate spatial and energy planning policies to help deliver the low carbon communities of the future; and to retrofit existing communities with more efficient energy.

Diane Smith added:
“It is vital that we take advantage of the opportunities to share best practice and exchange experiences from across Europe as we strive to deliver a more sustainable future whilst also enabling communities to reap the benefits that local energy projects can bring.”