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News in Brief: 5,000 solar panel homes from Barnsley Council; Scottish leaders to tackle climate change

Wind farm / Shutterstock_110242874

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 1 September, 2015

New online ecology advice handbook published

Independent ecology consultancy Thomson Ecology has published a new guide, the Wildlife On Site Handbook, aimed at providing an overview of current wildlife legislation to planners, construction managers and project managers. The handbook gives guidance on areas such as the laws surrounding protected species, the importance of biodiversity to construction and development, and the range of ecology surveys available. More information can be found here.

No inquiry to be held into Liverpool Lime Street regeneration plans

Despite the plan's condemnation by heritage campaigners, no enquiry is to be held into the £35 million proposal backed by the authority’s planning committee in early August, says Liverpool City Council. The Lime Street plans, which include the construction of student accommodation and a hotel, also involve demolition of the 103-year-old Futurist Cinema building. A council planning report notes opposition to the proposed loss of the Futurist by groups including the Cinema Theatre Association and Merseyside Civic Society. However, two surveyor reports have deemed the building unsalvageable.

5,000 solar panel homes plans announced by Barnsley Council

Plans for the installation of solar panels on roughly 5,000 council houses and buildings have been announced by Barnsley Council. The installation and maintenance of the panels will be managed by Energise Barnsley, a Community Benefit Society. Funds for the scheme’s £10 million capital costs will come from Energise Barnsley’s partners British Gas Solar, Generation Community and Berneslai Homes.

New chair needed for Approved Inspector Code of Conduct review

CICAIR Ltd, which maintains and operates the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR), is seeking a new chair to review its Code of Conduct. The code was last reviewed in 2011. The new review will be conducted by a working group drawn from the CICAIR policy committee membership. The revised code of conduct is expected to be launched in late 2016. More information and details on how to apply for the position can be found here.

Local authorities overruled on ‘more than half’ of planning decisions by Scottish Government

According to new statistics, local authorities’ decisions are regularly overruled when applicants take their planning appeals to ministers following initial refusal. The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has revealed that 77 of 145 planning appeals in 2015 were approved by the government, despite being originally rejected by councils. The Scottish Conservative Party says these figures constitute proof of the SNP’s centralising agenda.

Scottish party leaders join to tackle climate change

Scotland’s five main political party leaders have pledged to set out clear plans for tackling climate change, with WWF Scotland spearheading the agreement. The Conservatives, Scottish Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats and Green Party have all committed to outlining plans in their manifestos ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament election. The manifestos will outline how the parties plan to reduce emissions from Scotland’s food sector, improve energy efficiency through a “national infrastructure project”, and create a low-carbon transport system. The plans must also outline how the work of Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund will be continued, and must be in keeping with Scotland’s Climate Change Act.