Zero Carbon Development

Zero Carbon Development

Achieving Planning Permission Through 'Paragraph 55'

2nd September 2017

Recently, we've been working on a sensitive rural site in the open countryside and exploring the opportunities afforded under 'Paragraph 55' of the National Planning Policy Framework

The policy has been in place in various forms for the last 20 years and is often the only way to achieve planning permission in areas of open countryside. That said, the criteria are notoriously strict and successful applications are rare, particularly in this area of East Anglia. In summary, Paragraph 55 prohibits development of isolated new homes in the countryside unless certain 'special circumstances' apply. For particularly remote, green field sites, the most readily achievable of these special circumstances is '... the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling.' The policy states that in order to be considered acceptable, such a design should:

  • be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas
  • reflect the highest standards in architecture
  • significantly enhance its immediate setting
  • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area

A great way of demonstrating design innovation is through a highly sustainable design approach. To that end, we've been spending a lot of time researching the most innovative contemporary solutions in renewable energy with a view to proposing a low or zero carbon development. 

Significantly, we've been looking at The Zero Carbon Solution as effective way of achieving a low impact, sustainable and innovative approach to our rural site. The system utilises a combination of existing renewable technologies with a capacity for inter-seasonal storage through an Earth Energy Bank. The ability to gather and store solar energy solves a fundamental problem with existing photo-voltaic technology - that the supply is most readily available in the summer when demand is low and least accessible in the winter when demand is at is greatest.

We'll keep you all posted on how our application progresses.