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RTPI response to BEIS proposals on Energy Storage

Subject to one concern about permitted development rights the RTPI is supportive of moving most storage to the TCPA regime. The proposals being bought forward are broadly in line with what the industry suggested in the previous consultation and is therefore supported (i.e. 50MW NSIP threshold for storage is too low and the NSIP process is too onerous, timeconsuming and costly for this type of development).

The RTPI also stresses the importance of proper resourcing of LPAs to support the delivery a proactive planning policies on smart energies.

Further guidance on the carve-out principle is also required as the principle is quite complex. Guidance should make the practical application of this legislation much clearer to developers and planning authorities, and should also clarify the need for this type of technology as part of the energy mix.

We are concerned that transferring electricity storage to the TCPA system could open up the possibility of buildings in inappropriate locations because of the PDR rights given to electricity undertakers.

We are also concerned by the lack of guidance for the average planner, in a framework where under-resourcing of planning services, in terms of both officers and training, is evidenced by RTPI research.

Given the pressing need for upskilling of planners to address the clean energy revolution, urgent consideration is needed by MHCLG on how best to fund the necessary resources in LPAs, and/or external resources to support LPAs to deliver proactive planning policies on smart energy. There is a clear case that this investment is needed to unlock the economic and environmental benefits of smart energy in line with national energy policy and the Industrial Strategy. Smart energy has not been part of the planning profession’s traditional skillset. Lack of knowledge hinders the ability of LPAs to seize opportunities offered by new and emerging technologies, whether in framing the planning policy and practice that embeds clean energy in placemaking, or in responding proactively to development proposals

The lack of capacity for planners to maintain up to date knowledge and experience is also exacerbated by the continuing rapid development of technologies and markets. Even when higher standards for new developments are required by policy, development managers can lack the knowledge or access to expertise to judge whether a proposed energy strategy meets the standards set in policy, or indeed to insist on delivery when faced with viability arguments.

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