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Commented Amended Islington Solar Panel Guidance

21 January 2023

Islington Council has prepared a short document for householders to state the planning constraints on installing solar panels. Unfortunately the document suggests that solar panel installations can require planning permission or consultation with planning officers; however, that should not be required if the installations satisfy some conditions that can be clearly and simply stated. Our amendments state those conditions, taking account of both the regulations and the considerations discussed in past Council planning decisions. Our comments on the document indicate what the amendments are and why we have made them.

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Planning constraints on retrofitting buildings for climate change

13 December 2022

The current local and national planning constraints on retrofitting buildings for climate change (both inside and outside conservation areas) are not widely known. Our document sets them out fully, so that planners and building owners can understand when planning permission is (or is not) required. It also describes the legal tools  that can be used to to make the constraints take more account of climate change. Though some of it is self-evidently specific to Islington, most of it is relevant throughout the country.

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Climate Emergency Conservation Area Toolkit

6 December 2022

The Climate Emergency Conservation Area Toolkit provides updated guidance about retrofitting buildings for climate change in conservation areas, by looking in detail at roof extensions, rear projections, solar panels, windows, external walls and shopfronts. A detailed example, of the Cross Street conservation area in Islington, shows how it can be applied. 

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Emission reductions implied by the energy and buildings action plans

10 October 2022

The action plans that have been drafted by Islington Council for the Net Zero Carbon programme list many actions that will be taken over the next few years if funding permits. However, they do not indicate how far the actions will move the Council towards its Net Zero Carbon objective. Our document provides estimates of the extent to which emissions might be reduced by taking the actions in the plans for energy and buildings. The estimates depend on simple assumptions from several local and national data sources; they might be improved by information from further Council data sources and by surveys of the attitudes of building owners to retrofitting.

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An open letter to all Islington Councillors

16 September 2022

We have made various proposals to Islington Council for extra activities in the Net Zero Carbon programme. The open letter informs Councillors about some of these and seeks their leadership in ensuring that the Council works effectively with the community to reduce the carbon emissions outside its direct control.

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A proposal for a housing retrofit initiative

28 July 2022

Islington Council has to promote the retrofitting of houses by home owners and private landlords if it is to achieve its Net Zero Carbon ambition. The proposed initiative would stimulate interest, enhance expertise and develop markets by offering to early adopters in selected areas thermal imaging surveys, consultations with retrofit advisors and planners, and retrofit cost models.​

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Proposals for the Net Zero Carbon Supplementary Planning Document

21 July 2022

The Net Zero Carbon Supplementary Planning Document that is envisaged in the Islington Council Net Zero Carbon strategy needs to contain detailed guidance. This draft set of proposals, covering building features relevant to climate change, is intended to help with providing that. It is based on our study of the Cross Street conservation area and planning guidance more generally.

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Commented Amended Cross Street Conservation Area Design Guidelines

14 July 2022

The current version of the Cross Street Conservation Area Design Guidelines is now over twenty years old. Our amendments update it and take new steps to protect both heritage and climate. Our comments on it indicate what the amendments are and why we have made them. Though they do not provide a full appraisal based on Historic England conservation area guidance, they should give planners and building owners a clear way forward. In doing so, they pilot a way to change the current design guidelines that may be practical in the next eight years for the other conservation areas of Islington.

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The next steps after the Council public meeting on Net Zero Carbon

4 April 2022

We were among the organisations that attended the Islington Council third annual special scrutiny meeting on the Net Zero Carbon programme. Afterwards in a document for the Council we gave our views on steps forward from the meeting, emphasising the need to enlist the public in developing and implementing the programme.  

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Survey feedback

7 March 2022

In the last quarter of 2021 we conducted a survey of people in the streets of Islington. It indicated that nearly a half did not know that Islington Council had declared a climate emergency and nearly three quarters did not know that there was a documented Net Zero Carbon strategy. However, over two thirds regarded as very important some specific objectives of the strategy, such as improving home insulation, reducing car usage, improving air quality, creating green jobs and increasing recycling rates. The quantitative and qualitative feedback from the survey could help with formulating ways of involving people in putting the strategy into effect.

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Manifesto suggestions

17 November 2021

Through constructive challenge and input we aim to assist Islington Council in developing and implementing its Net Zero Carbon programme. Much depends on leadership by the Councillors, who can build on the public understanding of climate change. Accordingly we suggested items for the party manifestos in the 2022 council elections.

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