July 2011: Alongside the publication of the White Paper on Tuesday [see story below], the Government also published a ‘Renewable Energy Roadmap‘ which “outlines a plan of action to accelerate renewable energy deployment – to meet the target of 15% of all energy by 2020 ” – now said to be a four-fold increase over current levels of renewable energy consumption.
Government has highlighted before the importance of local authorities in helping support the growth of renewable energy and has also recently changed legislation to ensure that local authorities can themselves play their part as renewable energy developers (see letter from Chris Huhne to all leaders and chief executives of local authorities) .
The 100 page Roadmap is, however, incredibly ‘lite’ on the contribution that local authorities can play, pointing only to the work funded by DECC to produce nine regional studies to help “identify and maximise opportunities for the deployment of renewable and low carbon energy technologies in their area.” The Roadmap goes on to state that “Local Authorities and communities will be able to use the results of these assessments to inform development of their local and neighbourhood development plans.” [page 24]
“While the focus of the project has been to present the results at sub-regional and sub-national scales, much of the original data can be interrogated down to Local Authority level. This original data is available to Local Authorities to undertake their own analysis.” [page 25]
DECC goes on to say that one of their priority actions will be to:
” …Reform the local planning system in England to ensure that it supports economic growth, give communities a greater say and stake in development, and help local authorities and communities to identify opportunities for the deployment of renewables using analysis from regional studies.” [page 30]
Seven of the nine assessments for England are now available through the DECC web site – London’s renewable energy assessment study is awaiting publication, anticipated to be sometime later this year.