Merton-style powers given

Councils will now be able to legally impose obligations for energy use and efficiency in local plans with the approval of the Planning and Energy Act 2008 last week.

The legislation lets councils set requirements in development plan documents for a quota of energy used in their area to be renewably sourced or low carbon.

The act is an extension of Merton rule-style policies, as pioneered by the south London borough in 2003. It requires all new schemes in the area to meet ten per cent of their energy demand from renewable sources.

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