An Inspector Calls – on Climate Change Policy at EDDC.

An observer has sent us this report of Thursday’s hearing (27th February) in the Examination in Public (EiP), on the Local Plan policy on Climate Change:

An interesting 90 minutes at the Knowle yesterday. The admirable Mr Thickett calmly and powerfully demolished the EDDC policies and procedures. “This policy is so unspecific that it has no likelihood of being implemented.”

I suspect a new set of Building Regulations may emerge in due course.

The Green Party and Tesco had reserved places but failed to put in an appearance. There seemed to be no consideration of food security, water storage and drainage.

The Inspector unpicked the vague, inadequate or non-existent documentation on environmental impact, and sustainable design and construction – “The sustainable construction policy is more a ‘don’t annoy the neighbours’ policy.”

He advised them to rewrite a policy which suggests that the only low energy and renewable energy projects to be considered in East Devon would be as part of a building project, not as stand-alone developments.

The CPRE made a convoluted and unconvincing argument against wind and solar energy projects – but at least they agreed with AD, biomass and hydro. Nobody promoted fracking… EDDC expert advisers said that “CHP and other low carbon solutions are generally not viable”. The Inspector was dubious.

The Inspector probed the justification for inconsistency in the codes to be applied in different parts of the District. A representative for Cranbrook developers drew attention to the unfair treatment they get from the unequal rules for developments elsewhere.

In view of the high levels of mistrust generated among the public over the past two years of manoeuvring by EDDC I feel we need to ask why the documentation was so poor. Is it because

a) the officers are incompetent
b) the ruling group are indifferent
c) the residents of East Devon do not care
d) there is a conspiracy between senior officers, councillors, private developers and landowners – often the same people in different roles – to permit widespread under-regulated highly profitable piecemeal development all over the east of the District while getting brownie points for the fig-leaf of higher standards of compliance and comprehensive low carbon infrastructure within the eco-town of Cranbrook-on-flood plain.