The ALTON Society is backing East Hampshire District Council’s bid to make developers build zero-carbon homes.

East Hampshire will be testing its nerve by putting the measures in its next Local Plan, which should be ready for examination in 2023.

The Alton Society said: “We are delighted that East Hampshire District Council’s policy on new houses is now to compel developers to build for a greener future.

“This is substantively in line with representations the society has made to East Hampshire District Council planners for many years – indeed we have lobbied planners to this effect on all the recent major development applications in Alton.

“So it seems our suggestion requiring the council to impose conditions on developers to mitigate their carbon footprint on new houses to as near zero as possible has gained some traction – at last.”

For recent developments such as the South Alton Plan, Cadnams Farm and Redrow’s New Odiham Road estate, The Alton Society proposed solar panels be a consistent and minimum planning requirement, and requested consideration of non-fossil fuel alternatives to gas for heating and cooking. 

It said: “We are now given to understand that the present government is finally revisiting carbon mitigation measures. Building regulations to promote zero-carbon homes were proposed in 2016.

“David Cameron’s Conservative government abandoned them. It now seems probable that new targets will be forced on developers by the current government to build near zero-carbon houses.”

Fearing the energy systems on Alton’s new estates could be “possibly illegal” within ten years, the society added: “We have consistently lobbied to change this current policy and put aside a fighting fund to help the process of the inevitable appeals from developers. 

“We are delighted the council is now able to adopt the agenda that many local organisations, including The Alton Society, have lobbied for and pursued over the last ten to 15 years.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the council and the community in pursuance of the new stated policy.”

Council leader, Cllr Richard Millard said: “Our new Local Plan will be a ‘greenprint’ for the district.

“It will set the highest possible standards in sustainable house-building and empower us to demand developers meet those standards.

“The government’s national planning policies do not go far enough, so we will demand more.

“And if we can enshrine these policies in an adopted Local Plan we will have the power to enforce them.”