Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Commission
Monday 20 January 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Room G02A - 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH. View directions

Link: Livestream/Video (YouTube)

No. Item




Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent


Disclosure of Interests and Dispensation




New Southwark Plan

    This item will consider the New Southwark Plan and plans to amend this to deliver the Carbon Reduction Strategy. An officer report is enclosed.



    What is the New Southwark Plan?


    The New Southwark Plan (NSP) will be a new borough-wide planning and regeneration strategy up to 2033. Once finalised and adopted, it will replace the current local plan. Not only will it set out planning policies to guide development but it will also explain how development will be delivered and may inform future decisions about investment in infrastructure. The spatial plan consists of three main areas:


    1.Area visions – setting out the aspirations of the borough’s distinctive neighbourhoods

    2.Planning policies – informing decisions on planning applications and development proposals

    3.Site allocations – potential development sites with specifications for development requirements


    Once finalised and adopted, it will replace the current local plan, comprising the saved Southwark Plan policies 2007 and the Core Strategy 2011, and will be used to make decisions on planning applications.


    Current stage – After submission


    The council submitted NSP to the Secretary of State on 16 January 2020. It means the ‘Examination in Public’ process has now started, which is the last stage of the plan-making process. Throughout the examination process, the Planning Inspector will examine and assess NSP based on the following criteria:


    •Has it complied with the ‘duty to cooperate’?

    •Does it meet all the necessary legal requirements?

    •Is it sound?

    •Is it well evidence-based?

    •Is it deliverable?

    •Is it compliant with national and regional policy?


    Relevant documents can be found here:


    Supporting documents:


    Councillor Johnson Situ gave an overview on the New Southwark Plan (NSP), with support from Juliet Seymour, Planning Policy Manager, and Tim Cutts, Senior Regeneration Manager.


    The New Southwark Plan (NSP) will be the new borough-wide planning and regeneration strategy up to 2033. Once finalised and adopted, it will replace the current local plan. The council submitted the NSP to the Secretary of State on 16 January 2020. It means the ‘Examination in Public’ process has now started, which is the last stage of the plan-making process.


    They explained that New Southwark Plan is a living document, which they will continue to amend. Its development has coincided with the declaration of Climate Emergency.


    One of the most impactful changes on carbon outlined in the New Southwark Plan is that we will now require a minimum of 40% on-site reduction on 2013 Buildings Regulations Part L, which are a measure relating to the conservation of fuel and power. Currently, the London Plan recommends that development must achieve a 35% reduction on the same 2013 regulations. This is the target that most boroughs in London have now adopted, and the Inspector’s Report for the draft London Plan acknowledges that this target is realistic. This will require major developments in Southwark to exceed the Mayor’s target by 5%. Officers said that currently buildings achieve 34 % on average and on occasions as high as 70%, so they know the 40% target is achievable


    Juliet Seymour, Planning Policy Manager, drew members attention to a subsidiary plans, such as those on biodiversity, which can be amended in light of the Climate Emergency. These subsidiary plans require provision of walking and cycling routes, and a reduction in parking provision. 


    The chair invited members’ questions and the following points were made:


      i.  Will Southwark consider sighing up to the delivery of New Zero Carbon Buildings?  Officers said they are looking at this.


      ii.  How are Carbon offsets payments in lieu used? Officers said that a plan on how they could be used is due February. Examples are improved lighting on estates. 


      iii.  Will you review this as better to do this ‘on site’ that than via Carbon Off-setting? Officers agreed it is better to meet energy targets ‘on site’ and they will be reviewing practices.  They are also considering doubling the amount of carbon charged, i.e. increasing the amount developers have to pay.


      iv.  What about retaining existing buildings and the embedded carbon? Officers agreed this is an issue, and that conservation and could be looked as part of revised the policy. Currently carbon targets relate to the energy emissions of the final building, rather than the carbon generated by the erection of new building structures.


      v.  How will the council tackle Town Centre developments that still allow cars, for example Canada Water, particularly when there is not the best public transport in place? Officers and the cabinet lead said this does need to pushed further to reduce parking , but also highlights the challenges and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Regeneration and implementing Planning policy

    This item will consider how planning policy is being implemented on Southwark’s regeneration schemes in order to reduce emissions and reach zero carbon.

    Supporting documents:


    Tim Cutts, Senior Regeneration Manager gave a presentation.


    The chair then invited comments and questions:


      i.  Will there be increased tree cover to make walking more pleasurable in a hotter future? Yes, we are looking at the kerbside, and reassigning loading bays to walking paths and planting.


      ii.  How do we best prepare the future with changing technology? District hearting is the most resilient and adaptable to change. One of the problems is individual gas combination boilers. The future is so changeable that we do need to keep moving and updating. The council is also working with outside researchers in partnership with other London clients. An agile and matrix management approaches are being adopted.


      iii.  Are Town Centre plans providing wildlife habitats and specifically can you explain the initiative in Canada Water? Yes there are and the wildlife habitat is in the Canada Water basin. Officers offered to provide more details.


    The chair invited two people in the audience from Extinction Rebellion to ask questions:


      i.  Have lessons been learnt form Elephant Park where Lend Lease dropped the original low carbon plans and will now only deliver 3% on site?  Officers and the cabinet member assured the audience participant that in future there will be far less flexibility about the use of carbon offset payments, which are being reviewed, and the new plan is much stronger on delivering on site. Officers agreed there must be a much stronger focus on this to meet the Climate Emergency.


      ii.  Will green space be prioritised ; too often this is  relegated to the shadow side of big buildings. The cabinet lead said one of the key aims of a development is it has deliver for people. This means balancing achievements across many areas: carbon reduction, provision of green and community space, housing, jobs and the economy.


    The chair invited Extinction Rebellion to submit any further comments in writing for the Commission to consider.


Road User Charging

    The following report is enclosed for discussion:




    Silviya Barrett, with Martin Wedderburn and Erica Belcher

    Supporting documents:


    Jeremy Leach , co-opted Commission  member, commented that he requested inclusion of this report and advised that three boroughs are looking at Road User Charging.


    Members queried if a council had sufficient legal powers to introduce this. There was a discussion on  the possibly of the Mayor of London adopting this and commented that a scheme like this would work best if it was done over a number of boroughs, either via the Mayor,  or through a partnership approach.  


    A member commented that tackling larger higher emitting cars ought to be a priority, as well as driving down total car use .This ought to be done in tandem with providing alternatives such as more public transport, cycling and cargo bikes. All the measures that penalise driving cars ought to be investigated.



    A member said the Commission ought to understand the present provision of parking places on Southwark roads.





    ·  Officers will be asked to provide information on the number of car parking spaces in the borough


    ·  Legal advice will be requested on introducing Road User Charging.



Work Programme

    The workplan is attached.

    Supporting documents:


    Members discussed coming climate change events that members will be attending.


    The good work that Cllr Adele Morris has been doing on Planning Committee  to press for schemes to deliver more carbon reduction on site was noted – her input will be sought.  


    Polly Billington, Director of UK100 was suggested as a speaker.