District Heating Network plan for East Devon’s West End will be sped up

East Devon District Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday morning unanimously backed plans for a Local Development Order (LDO) for District Heating Networks.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

Proposals to speed up the implementation of District Heating Networks planned in East Devon’s West End have been unanimously approved.

East Devon District Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday morning unanimously backed plans for a Local Development Order (LDO) for District Heating Networks.

The LDO will reduce the regulatory processes and delays associated with the submission of planning applications and facilitate faster implementation of the District Heating networks, councillors were told.

Already the Skypark Energy Centre provides hot water and heating to housing in Cranbrook and commercial buildings at Skypark as well as a private wire to the Lidl distribution centre, while the Monkerton Energy Centre is in the process of being commissioned and will provide hot water and heating to housing around Monkerton and Pinhoe and also commercial buildings at the Science Park.

Chris Rose, the council’s development manager, in his report to the meeting, said that this would enable further roll out of decentralised heating systems in East Devon’s West End and would assist in the delivery of the key aim of East Devon Council Plan 2020 – 2040 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

He added: “Decentralised heating systems can provide significant carbon emission reduction compared to conventional heating systems and can therefor aid the transition to a low carbon economy.

“Despite the system currently being heated by mains gas there are overall energy system efficiencies with associated carbon benefits, for example heat recovery and a reduction in wasted heat. District Heating Networks benefit from economies of scale with one central boiler operating far more efficiently than individual boilers

“It is far more practical, cost saving and energy saving to install the DHN during the construction phase of development rather than trying to retrofit a system and as the network is enhanced and enlarged it enables greater economies of scale and therefor greater low carbon benefits.”

Approval of the LDO would eliminates the requirement to obtain planning permission to install certain infrastructure and would ‘speed up the process for the infrastructure to allow the transition to a low or zero carbon future’, Mr Rose added.

Recommending approval, Cllr Mike Howe said that the committee had two choices – either approve this and then try and force the companies using the DHN to use renewable energy, or install gas boilers in every single house. He said: “That would be wrong so this is a no brainer. This is not perfect but a step in the right direction,” adding that the current planning system could not demand any developer build zero carbon homes as the council has no policies calling for it.

Cllr Olly Davey added that he thought that the DHN could be compatible with moving to a low carbon future, and added: “Hopefully in the not too distant future the facility in Cranbrook will be switched over to low carbon, and when it does, every house will become low carbon.”

Councillors unanimously backed the LDO which grants Permitted Development rights for District Heating transmission and distribution networks for development such as the installation of pipes, cables and wires, heat exchange equipment, street furniture, and ancillary engineering works in the defined area of land around Cranbrook and Clyst Honiton in the West End of East Devon.

Development is not permitted by this Order where any above ground cabinets, buildings, structures or enclosures would be greater than 1 metre in height above ground level, any above ground cabinets, buildings, structures or enclosures would be greater than 2.5 cubic metres in external volume; or any pipework installed above ground and outside any enclosure is greater than 2 metres in length.

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