Meeting to shape our built environment


KEY TAKEAWAYS REPORT – Roundtable: Achieving Net-Zero

Roundtable 3: Achieving Net Zero (Online)
Thursday 11 February 2021

Priority 3 of the Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy outlines the activities and outcomes for planning and development.  New developments in the county are to be sustainable, carbon neutral and climate resilient, with an aspiration for ‘energy positive’ new developments and communities (communities producing more energy than they are using) by 2030. But what is the role of the developer? How is environmental viability considered within the development process? And how do public and private sectors best collaborate on delivering on zero carbon targets for Kent and Medway? 

The Roundtable was chaired by Design South East Director, Chris Lamb, using the Chatham House rule.

Key takeaways

We need a universal definition of zero carbon
This is about winning hearts and minds. De-jargonising carbon to create a clear overarching goal for all parties to work towards is critical for success; if we’re not all working towards the same thing we won’t get there.

We need a national framework or set of rules
Post-Covid viability questions are pushing zero carbon down the agenda. This can only be addressed through national legislation, creating clarity and consistency for everyone involved in planning and development. A zero-carbon national regulatory framework is required within both the NPPF and Building Regulations; to determine how we plan and develop places; to remove ambiguity and ensure consistency; and to put public, private and third sectors on the same page.

We need cross-sector dialogue nationally and across Kent and Medway
From national to county to local level we need joined-up thinking, and the coordination of stakeholders and political leadership.  We need a shared vision and shared resources to counter local variation and limited capacity. 

We have a goal, but urgently need a roadmap to achieve zero carbon by 2030 
To achieve 2030 zero carbon goals everyone needs to be working towards them, and that means now. We need to develop a shared zero carbon roadmap and timeline for delivery. 

We need to set clear expectations for developers and monitor deliver.
Delivery is the key, so we need to work collectively to create a Kent and Medway zero carbon charter that we can use to unsure new developments will contribute to our zero-carbon goal.

We know that there are several developers leading on this, but commitment is inconsistent.
This is not just about setting goals and policy; the development sector is critical to success. We have seen the impact of an authentic, ethos-driven corporate commitment to zero carbon, and how land ownership and a sustainability-focused brief can push the carbon agenda. The goal now must be to extend that commitment across the sector.

Achieving zero carbon communities is critical to sustainable development. But it won’t happen without collaboration, consistency and capacity.

Bartholomew Wren, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council / Ben Kilgore, Esquire Developments / Brian Horton, Horton Strategic / Chris Bath, BPTW / Chris Lamb, Design South East / Christine Wissink, Kent County Council / Helen French, Sevenoaks District Council / James Bailey, Maidstone Borough Council / Jamie van Iersel, Dartford Borough Council / Julia Wallace, Folkestone & Hythe District Council / Lucy Kirk, Medway Council / Lucy Wilford, Barton Wilmore / Laura Lewis-Davies, Design South East / Mark Bewsey, DHA / Nick Fenton, Kent Developers Group / Nick Lee Evans, Lee Evans Partnership / Oliver Novakovic, BDW Homes / Peter Lacey, Duchy of Cornwall / Philipp Hall, On Architecture / Simon Burnstead, CLTH / Stuart Bean, Gravesham Borough Council

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