Climate Change Policies

Our preferred policy approach to addressing climate change in the District over the Plan period, and the justification for this, is set out below:

Strategic Policy 1: Planning for Climate Change

Planning for Climate Change

Climate Change – the rise in average global temperature due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere – is a fundamental challenge facing the world. There is mounting evidence of its seriousness and its potential impacts. Without action, it could have a catastrophic on our planet and the people and wildlife that inhabit it.

The Local Plan is intended to support the Council’s strategy on climate change particularly in relation to the built environment.

Strategic Policy 1 sets out the Councils overarching strategy for addressing climate change and delivering a carbon neutral District by 2050. This policy is underpinned by a number of Development Management Policies which set out a comprehensive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

These policies should be read in combination with other policies in the Plan, as the issue of climate change is a key theme that runs through each chapter and is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as set out in the NPPF.

Strategic Policy 1: Planning for Climate Change

All new development must contribute to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change by:

  • Promoting low carbon design approaches to reduce energy consumption in buildings;
  • Utilising sustainable construction techniques and optimising resource efficiency;
  • Providing opportunities for renewable and low carbon technologies;
  • Providing opportunities for decentralised energy and heating;
  • Maximising green infrastructure; and
  • Reducing the need to travel and maximising opportunities for 'smarter' sustainable transport options to deliver the highest possible share of trips by the most sustainable travel modes.
  • Ensuring that development is designed to reduce vulnerability to, and provide resilience from, the impacts arising from a changing climate, whilst not increasing the potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions in doing so;
  • Incorporating multi-functional green infrastructure to enhance biodiversity, manage flood risk, address overheating and promote local food production;
  • Maximising water efficiency; and
  • Ensuring that development does not increase flood risk and where possible reduces the risk of flooding.


DM Policy 1: Reducing Carbon Emissions

Reducing Emissions and Off-setting

New and existing homes produce around 20% of all carbon emissions in the UK. As part of the efforts to meet the UK's ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 the government is proposing to introduce the Future Homes Standard in 2025. The government considers that this will require new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.

Through the introduction of the Future Homes Standard the government anticipates that an average home will have 75 - 80% fewer carbon emissions than a home constructed to the current national standards for energy efficiency. This, along with the Clean Growth Grand Challenge mission to halve energy use in all new builds by 2030, will set a path towards decarbonisation of new homes and support the scaling up of low carbon technologies to decarbonise the existing housing stock.

The Future Homes Standard sets out a road map for delivery, and this policy will be implemented on a phased basis in accordance with the guidance in the Future Homes Standard.

Non-domestic buildings will continue to be required to meet the BREEAM standard, which is the most commonly accepted assessment tool by which to judge and require increased sustainability standards in new non-domestic developments, until the government publishes its proposals to amend Part L2 of the Building Regulations to deal with this issue.

DM Policy 1: Reducing Carbon Emissions

All new development must incorporate design features that deliver a reduction in carbon emissions.

In line with the Future Homes Standard residential dwellings must achieve a 31% reduction in carbon emissions below the Target Emission Rate (TER) as set out in Building Regulations Part L (2013). This will be achieved using the measures set out below:

  • An increase in fabric standards to deliver a 'fabric first' approach to new development; and
  • The use of on-site renewable and low carbon energy technologies.

Non domestic buildings must achieve BREEAM 'Very Good' standard overall, including Very Good for addressing maximum energy efficiencies under the energy credits.

All development proposals must submit an Energy Statement to the Council to demonstrate how the policy requirements above have been complied with.

DM Policy 2: Sustainable Design and Construction

Sustainable Design and Construction

Sustainable design and construction can make an important contribution to delivering sustainable development and addressing climate change. Measures for achieving this include:

  • Building orientation to maximise summer cooling through natural ventilation in buildings and increasing passive solar gain.
  • Using suitable sustainable construction techniques in new developments to make them more efficient.
  • Planning for buildings to have a longer life, incorporating flexibility into building design so that buildings can be adapted to suit the changing lifestyles and home occupation patterns of residents and users.
  • Planning for weather changes by including adaptations like better drainage systems and rainwater harvesting.
  • The provision of green infrastructure to provide providing cooling effects, retention of water, the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) and, the opportunity for sustainable grown local food. Green infrastructure can also provide an important ecological role and encourage walking, cycling and other recreational activities.
  • The provision of adequate space for recycling and composting.

Many sustainable design features have multiple benefits; for example, green roofs that enhance biodiversity, absorb rainfall, improve the thermal and acoustic performance of the building, reduce the urban heat island effect, and improve the appearance of a development. Similarly, the use of appropriate construction materials is also key and, where practicable, those sourced locally and with low embodied energy should be prioritised in order to both support the local economy and reduce emissions from both manufacturing and transport.

Sustainable design should also recognise that demolition and rebuild is not always appropriate, and that structurally sound buildings should be reused in preference to demolition.

With large proportions of a building’s carbon footprint and environmental impact being created before occupation begins, sustainable construction methods are a key consideration. For this reason, it is important that the environmental assessment of a development includes not only the operational stage of a building’s life when it is in use, but also considers construction activities such as the production and transportation of materials.

Further guidance on good design principles is provided in Strategic Policy 15 and DM Policies 36 and 37 in the Plan. To support the delivery of high quality buildings and places in the District the Council will also produce a Local Design Guide to provide clear and detailed guidance in relation to sustainable design and construction measures.

DM Policy 2: Sustainable Design and Construction

All development must:

a. Utilise layout, orientation, massing and landscaping to make the best use of solar energy, passive heating and cooling, natural light and natural ventilation;

b. Prioritise the use of low embodied carbon and energy efficient building materials and construction techniques;

c. Consider the lifecycle of the building and public spaces, including how they can be easily modified to meet changing social and economic needs and how materials can be recycled at the end of their lifetime;

d. Provide measures to adapt to climate change, such as the provision of water efficiency measures in accordance with DM Policy 5, green infrastructure in accordance with DM Policies 9, 31 and 36 and Strategic Policies 15 and 17, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in accordance with DM Policy 7, suitable shading of pedestrian routes and open spaces, opportunities for locally grown food produce, rainwater harvesting and drought resistant landscaping; and

e. Minimise waste and promote recycling, during both construction and occupation.

DM Policy 3: Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

The delivery of local renewable and low carbon energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help ensure fuel security, stimulate investment and potentially provide some income for communities. Even small-scale projects can contribute towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  Increasing the proportion of renewable and low carbon energy generated is one of the ways Dover District can contribute to the UK governments target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  

DM Policy 3: Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

Developments for renewable and low carbon energy will be supported where applicants can demonstrate that:

a. They have considered the environmental, social and economic benefits of their proposals;

b. There are no significant adverse impacts on the surrounding area such as visual, noise and amenity;

c. Visual impacts have been minimised in the design and layout of the scheme;

d. There is no significant loss of residential amenity of local residents;

e. There is no adverse impact on heritage assets;

f. There is no significant impact on the landscape setting, habitats, biodiversity or wildlife (particularly protected species);

g. The proposals can conserve and enhance the natural environment through measures such as biodiversity off-setting;

h. They do not have an impact on the best and most versatile agricultural land unless that it can be demonstrated that it is necessary and no alternative lower grade land is available;

i. They minimise impact on the local transport network;

j. They will source sustainably any fuel required;

k. They will maximise opportunities to address the energy needs of neighbouring uses; and

l. They do not lead to a substantial increase in cumulative impacts within an area.

DM Policy 4: Sustainable Travel

Sustainable Transport

The planning process for new developments provides the opportunity to maximise the use of the sustainable transport modes of walking, cycling, and the use of public and community transport, and opportunities for people with disabilities to access all modes of transport. This is consistent with the NPPF and supports Strategic Policy 1 (Planning for Climate Change) to discourage the use of the private car.

The measures applicable to each development proposal will vary on a case-by-case basis, including according to the type and scale of development proposed, its location, and the level of existing transport infrastructure and services in the immediate area. This could also include a financial contribution for the implementation of schemes beyond the scope of an individual development to deliver.

Initiatives which encourage the use of public transport over the use of the private car will be supported alongside opportunities for active travel. This will include continued support for Dover Fastrack connecting Whitfield with Dover town centre and Dover Priory railway station, and supporting the development of demand responsive public transport initiatives to serve the districts more rural areas.

DM Policy 4: Sustainable Travel

Development must, in so far as its size, characteristic and location allow:

a. Be designed so that opportunities for sustainable transport modes are maximised and provide for a variety of forms of transport as alternatives to travel by private vehicle;

b. Give priority to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, users of public transport, car sharers and users of low and ultra-low emission vehicles;

c. Be readily accessible by sustainable transport modes through the provision of high-quality, safe and direct walking and cycling routes within a permeable site layout;

d. Provide one charging point for every new dwelling with parking provision within its curtilage which as a minimum provides cabling to enable subsequent installation of 7kW 32amp OLEV compliant wall or ground mounted charge point; and for all other types of residential, commercial, industrial and retail development, provide one electric car charging point for every 10 parking spaces provided;

e. Take account of the sustainable transport proposals included within Dover Infrastructure Delivery Plan. New development will be required to contribute towards applicable schemes;

f. Make provision for cycle parking and storage in accordance with the Parking Standards.

The Council will safeguard the rights of way network, and other cycle and walking routes from development that would compromise their use.

DM Policy 5: Water Efficiency

Water Resources

Dover is within a high water stress area as identified by the Environment Agency in their publication "Water Stressed Areas Final Classification July 2013". This means that the increase in water demand must be met by increasing water efficiency and reducing leakage, followed by making more efficient use of existing resources. Both the Environment Agency and Southern Water support a reduction in daily usage per person/day for internal use in water stressed areas therefore new developments will be expected to meet the water efficiency optional requirement of 110litre /person/day.

Non residential development will be required to meet the BREEAM standard, which is the most commonly accepted assessment tool by which to judge and require increased sustainability standards in new non-domestic developments.

DM Policy 5: Water Efficiency

New build housing must be built to the higher water efficiency standard under Regulation 36(3) of the Building Regulations, so as to achieve a maximum use of 110 litres per person per day.

The Council would strongly support proposals that seek to reduce daily water consumption even further through the use of external measures such as rainwater harvesting.

For non-residential development, development must achieve BREEAM 'Very Good' standard overall, including Very Good for addressing maximum water efficiencies under the mandatory water credits, unless it can be demonstrated that it is not technically feasible and viable.

DM Policy 6: Flood Risk

Flood Risk

The NPPF and accompanying practice guidance emphasise the responsibility of Local Planning Authorities to ensure that flood risk is understood, managed effectively and sustainably throughout all stages of the planning process. It is also necessary to ensure that new development takes into consideration the impact of future climate change and is designed to mitigate risks.

The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) for the District produced in 2019 provides a clear picture of the potential risks associated with flooding within the Dover district and outlines the requirements with regard to ensuring that these risks are managed in a sustainable way into the future.

The NPPF requires a site-specific flood risk assessment (SFRA) to be submitted for all development located within Flood Zones 2 and 3. In addition, development situated within Flood Zone 1 will also require an FRA if one or more of the following site criteria are meet: greater than 1 hectare; located within an area known to have critical drainage problems; located within an area identified by the SFRA as being at increased flood risk in the future; and, introduces more vulnerable uses in an area shown to be at risk of flooding from other sources.

DM Policy 6: Flood Risk

Development sites at risk of flooding must comply with National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance.

Development sites must be accompanied by a site-specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) as specified by the requirements set out in the Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

The FRA should be prepared in accordance with the guidance set out in the Council’s ‘Site-specific Guidance for Managing Flood Risk’. For development identified by the FRA to be at risk of flooding from any source, flood mitigation should be implemented in accordance with the Flood Risk Management hierarchy outlined in the document ‘Site-specific Guidance for Managing Flood Risk’.

DM Policy 7: Surface Water Management

Surface Water Management

Flooding from surface water runoff typically occurs following an extreme rainfall event where water from higher in the catchment flows overland and accumulates in topographic depressions. This is further exacerbated in areas with steeply sloping topography, low permeability ground conditions (e.g. urban areas), or where the surface water drainage system (e.g. highway gullies) are overwhelmed.

It is necessary to ensure that new development does not increase the risk of flooding off-site as a result of an increase in run-off from the development. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can help mitigate run-off and involve techniques that allow rainfall to drain in natural systems. SuDS provide a range of benefits including: reducing flood risk; maintaining and restoring natural water flow rate, improving water resources, minimizing diffuse pollution; reducing pressure on the sewerage network, improving biodiversity and local amenity, and providing green space.

The provision of sustainable drainage within new development became a material consideration in planning decisions from April 2015. Kent County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for the county and as such they are the statutory consultee in the planning process to oversee the provision of SuDs for major development within the District. The LLFA provides technical advice and guidance on the surface water drainage strategies, designs and maintenance arrangements proposed by developers for any new major development. Kent County Council has prepared a Drainage and Planning Policy Statement (September 2015) containing guidance on how to integrate sustainable drainage systems into the master planning of large and small developments. Developers should consult and refer to this guidance and any future updates, when preparing applications incorporating SuDs schemes. All applications incorporating a SuDs scheme will also need to include details of a robust maintenance scheme to be agreed with the appropriate authority.

DM Policy 7: Surface Water Management

New development must replicate natural ground and surface water flows, and decrease surface water runoff through the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Surface water should be discharged from a development as close to greenfield as practicable, to ensure that surface water run-off is managed as close to its source as possible, following the hierarchy of methods for discharge that have been outlined in the Council's Site-specific Guidance for Managing Flood Risk (2019).

SuDS design, together with a robust long term maintenance plan must be considered as an integral part of the master planning and design process for new development. For major development, drainage must be provided sustainably and integrated into on-site multifunctional open space and landscape provision. Developers should seek and refer to guidance produced by the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) when submitting a planning application for any major development. Approval for the design and long term maintenance of SuDS will be required prior to development being permitted.

The discharge of surface water run-off into a public sewer will only be acceptable, if an assessment of the capacity of the sewer has been undertaken, and the evidence demonstrates that there is no increased flood risk.

DM Policy 8: Coastal Change Management Areas

Coastal Change

The NPPF (2019) states that Local Plans should reduce risk from coastal change by avoiding inappropriate development in vulnerable areas and not exacerbating the impacts of physical changes to the coast. They should identify as a Coastal Change Management Area (CCMA) any area likely to be affected by physical changes to the coast, and: a) be clear as to what development will be appropriate in such areas and in what circumstances; and b) make provision for development and infrastructure that needs to be relocated away from Coastal Change Management Areas.

The review of Coastal Change Management Areas in Dover District, published in June 2018, defines a detailed set of CCMA maps for the Dover District and these are reflected on the Local Plan policies map.

Coastal change and its impact on the natural and built environment is a material planning consideration and current planning guidance states that LPAs need to define CCMAs and consider the local policy within them. Therefore, new planning policy on development and coastal change requires coastal change to be considered at all stages of the planning process, to avoid inappropriate development. The role of the CCMA mapping is to identify areas in which the vulnerability of development proposals can be tested, to ensure that only appropriate development that requires a coastal location and provides substantial economic and social benefits is permitted in these areas. This will involve determining whether the development will be safe through its planned lifetime, or perhaps setting a time limit for development. There is also potential for the CCMA maps to be used to mitigate the impact and reduce the risk facing coastal communities already experiencing coastal change. By putting in place plans to manage the future development of coastal communities through adaptation, for example, by improving their resilience or by relocation, the impacts can be reduced.

DM Policy 8: Coastal Change Management Areas

Development within a Coastal Change Management Area may be granted planning permission so long as a coastal change vulnerability assessment and geotechnical appraisal are undertaken by suitably qualified persons to demonstrate that the development will be safe and does not increase the risk to life during its planned lifetime; and will not exacerbate rates of coastal change anywhere on the coastline.

For any development within a CCMA, the management of surface water using infiltration/soakaways are unlikely to be permitted along with ponds, swimming pools and septic tanks.

DM Policy 9: Tree Planting and Protection

Carbon Off-setting

Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. They provide habitats for wildlife and are important for their visual amenity. Woodland and individual trees can help to maintain air quality, provide shade, aid water attenuation, help to preserve soils and increase biodiversity. They can act as stepping stones for wildlife throughout the landscape and provide important wildlife corridors within the urban environment. Trees can also make places more attractive and cohesive, which can aid active travel and contribute to greater health and well being.

Tree planting is recognised by the Government as being one of the main ways the UK can achieve carbon neutral status by 2050. To support this initiative at a local scale we have introduced requirements for tree planting and protection, to increase tree canopy cover in the District and help sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The presumption is that the trees will be planted and retained within gardens or as part of any landscaping scheme that forms part of the development, rather than off site. Off-site planting should only be considered where space is a constraint. Equally wherever commercial development occurs, planting of new trees will be encouraged where appropriate within landscaping schemes that form part of the development.

In addition to tree planting it is recognised that other measures can also be taken to sequester carbon, for example the provision of green corridors, re-wilding, encouraging biodiversity and planting hedges and these mechanisms are supported by other policies in the plan.

DM Policy 9 Tree Planting and Protection

Tree Planting

a. A minimum of two new trees will be required to be planted for each new dwelling (this excludes conversions and changes of use), and a minimum of one new tree will be required to be planted per job that is expected to be created through new commercial development.

b. Trees should be native Kent species of local provenance.

c. A presumption that the trees will be planted on-site rather than off-site will apply. Where it can be demonstrated that new trees cannot be provided on-site, a contribution will be required towards the Council's Tree Planting Strategy.

d. A detailed landscaping scheme and landscape management plan should be submitted for all major development schemes, including, but not limited to, details of the trees and shrubs to be planted, and proposals for how the landscaping scheme will be managed and maintained over the lifetime of the development.

Tree Protection and Replacement

e. Dover District Council will make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) when necessary in order to protect specific trees, groups of trees, or woodlands, in the interests of amenity and biodiversity.

f. The Council will not grant permission for the loss of or damage to a tree, group of trees or areas of woodland of significant amenity, biodiversity or historic value unless there is deemed to be an immediate hazard to public safety.

g. Trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders should be retained wherever possible, unless: A. they are dead, dying, diseased or represent a hazard to public safety; or B. The Council deems the felling to be acceptable with regards to the Council’s policy on tree management; or C. The benefit of the proposed development outweighs the benefit of their retention.

h. If felling is deemed acceptable by parts (f) or (e) then the planting of two replacement trees in an appropriate location will be required.