Diary

Visitors to Birmingham's Cadbury World will now be able to create their own computerised village community as they indulge in a little chocolate therapy.

The attraction has opened the interactive table game Build to Last, in which players are asked questions about different types of housing, amenities and energy in their towns. All choices are related to a budget that depletes as options are chosen.

The computer projects an image of what the community will look like in 20 years' time and explains whether it will be a shining example of sustainable development or a failure, and why. Feedback is given on all decisions, although the Planning Inspectorate is not thought to be involved.

Where is the planning policy statement on climate change? The draft has been mired in controversy over targets for on-site microrenewables since it was unveiled last year.

To add to the confusion, both sides of the squabble seem to be able to back up their point of view by quoting different parts of the document. Recent weeks have seen claim and counterclaim about the future of the Merton rule.

Civil servants are so busy answering parliamentary questions about reform of the award-winning policy that they are struggling to find time to finish the actual document. Here's hoping that whatever the final version says, everyone will agree what it means.

An emissions-based congestion charge will swamp central London with an extra 10,000 cars and hasten global warming, a study claimed last week.

The research, by the think-tank Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), analysed Transport for London's (TfL's) own figures. One in five motorists who stopped driving because of the congestion charge would take to the wheel once more, it warned.

The scheme could result in £325,000 a year in social benefits but it will cost £6.5 million to establish and up to £2.5 million a year to run, the CEBR estimates.

A TfL spokesman said: "These criticisms are reminiscent of doom-laden arguments from opponents of the original congestion charge scheme." But who commissioned the shock report that comes down so vehemently against charging gas-guzzlers? Hold up your hands, Land Rover.

British Gas says £1 out of every £3 spent on heating homes in the UK is wasted because of poor insulation.

Although all new-build homes will have to be carbon neutral by 2016, older stock will make up the majority of residential accommodation in 2050. The utility company says this could hinder progress on the target to cut UK carbon emissions by 60 per cent from 1990 levels by the middle of the century.

To prove that this is not just hot air, British Gas has launched Green Streets, a year-long experiment to see how existing homes can be more energy-efficient. Eight streets in eight UK cities will participate.

Each will have £30,000 to spend on domestic energy-saving kit, including solar panels and heat pumps. The street that reduces its carbon emissions the most will win £50,000 worth of equipment to reduce energy use in a local community project.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs