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LES e-Newsletter Issue 1 - 3rd February
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Welcome to the first edition of the Low Emission Strategies (LES) e-Newsletter!

By developing this newsletter we wanted to give planners, developers and environmental practitioners an understanding of how LES can inform practice and policy at a local and national level, enable networking opportunities and provide a springboard for ideas, feedback and progress updates.

In this issue we feature an overview of the LES programme; an opportunity to find out how local authorities within the Peer Group are making progress, in particular Mid Devon, South Cambridgeshire and Greenwich; a feature profile from Steve Merryfield, a Chief Planning Officer on the integration of a LES approach; and how you can contact us to find out more. We welcome your ideas for future editions of the newsletter and feedback on the content and benefits of this edition.

Rob Pilling - (LES Partnership, Programme Manager)


wind turbineLES provides a package of measures to help mitigate the transport impacts of development. Their primary aim is to accelerate the uptake of low emission fuels and technologies in and around a development site. Some authorities are already making effective use of LES, while others are struggling to take full advantage!

Joined up policies such as LES are particularly important for the transport sector, which is by far the most common cause for the declaration of air quality management areas and is the only sector where carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase. There is an urgent need for continued action; and spatial planning has a pivotal role in helping to secure enduring progress against the UK’s emission targets. When planners and environmental practitioners work together LES are achievable, effective and can contribute to achieving Local Area Agreements.

Our LES Good Practice Guidance - consultation draft outlines the important principles and methodology behind LES and presents current good practice and introduces new thinking.

To obtain a copy of our LES Good Practice Guidance - consultation draft please download it here.

project updates

The LES Partnership are working with 15 local authorities across England in the development of LES. Progress will be reported throughout the project to raise awareness, support further adoption and evaluate the benefits of a LES approach.

Outlined below are 3 early project examples. We hope you can see where the approach being taken may be similar and/or assist you in making related decisions. We'll keep you posted on how they develop.


Mid Devon - Embedding LES into the Local Development Framework and Low Emission/Air Quality Benefits from S106 agreements

clouds Mid Devon District Council is conducting an examination of how to incorporate LES, sustainable energy and carbon foot printing into proposed housing allocation sites under the Local Development Framework (LDF). The aim is to establish LES as a key infrastructure requirement.

Read more....


South Cambridgeshire - An LES for a New Town

building South Cambridgeshire District Council plan to agree and adopt a comprehensive LES for the development of the new town of Northstowe.

The new town of Northstowe is located 8km to the northwest of Cambridge and will include 9,500 dwellings plus a variety of amenities. The LES will bring together existing planning policies and highlight areas for future policy development. Initially, work will be carried out to create a LES framework, which will be focussed upon providing best practice and guidance for future significant developments within the District.


Greenwich - Quantifying the Benefits of an LES

bus Greenwich is to undertake a major LES impacts assessment study. The intention is to look at impacts at different scales (i.e. individual development, regional and national).

Like the Mid Devon case study, the work being undertaken by Greenwich will feed into what is felt an essential outcome from the LES project i.e. a set of clear and easily understood quantification of impacts.

The project will report back on how Greenwich are progressing with this vital piece of work. We can then compare it with the Mid Devon work to see which is most suitable for other local authorities to use, or which elements from each piece of work can best be used in local authorities that may have particular constraints or opportunities that they need to address.

feature - profile professional

For each edition of our e-Newsletter we will be highlighting colleagues who are using LES as a best practice model within their organisation. Our first feature profile focuses on Steve Merryfield, Chief Planning Officer at Greenwich Council. Steve joined Greenwich Council in 1986 with initial responsibility for planning projects such as the Greenwich Waterfront Strategy, which set out the vision for major riverside development. In August 2000 he became Head of Planning, responsible for some of the largest and most exciting development and regeneration projects in London. He was part of the Greenwich team that successfully secured Air Quality Beacon Authority status. Read more for Steve's response to our questions below.

How have you used the Low Emission Strategy (LES) model?

What are the benefits for a planner of taking this approach?

Any advice for colleagues in Planning who are keen to adopt LES?

news and events

CLG consultation: Planning Policy Statement Eco-Towns

CLG are consulting on proposals for a new Planning Policy Statement for Eco-towns. The intention of the document is to ‘precisely define[s] what constitutes an eco-town; what environmental, social, and economic standards these developments should achieve; and how eco-towns relate to the planning system’.


contact us

To find out more about the Partnership visit the website, or if you have any question, comments please email:

[email protected]

Write to:

Beacons Low Emission Strategies
Holywell Park
Loughborough University
Ashby Road
LE11 3TU

You can also join our mailing list by visiting our website and entering your email address in the newsletter panel.


What is a Low Emission Strategy (LES)?

We use the term LES to mean a package of measures for mitigating air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions associated with the road transport impacts of new (or significantly altered) developments.

A key emphasis of LES is to accelerate the uptake of low emission fuels and technologies in and around the development site. As such, they sit alongside and strengthen other transport emission mitigation options such travel planning, smarter choices and provision of public transport infrastructure.

LES are most effective, when their development is embedded within the way a local planning authorities assesses and approves planning applications.


How does an LES differ from a Low Emission Zone?

A low emission zone refers to a geographic area where emissions from road transport are mitigated. This usually takes the form of an area where some kind of enforcement is carried out to ensure particular types of vehicles are restricted. A Low Emission Zone may be one aspect of an LES in an area.

Low emission zones may apply directly to the road network (e.g. the London Low Emission Zone), or to areas of development land (e.g. Greenwich Peninsula scheme).


How are LES Secured?

LES are secured through a combination of planning conditions and legal obligations. They may incorporate policy measures and/or require financial investments in and contributions to the delivery of low emission transport projects and plans, including strategic monitoring and assessment activities.


Can LES only be delivered via the planning system?

Our work to date focuses on what might more accurately be described as ‘planning based LES’. LES may also be implemented via transport policy mechanisms. The London Low Emission Zone is one such example. Although the policy delivery mechanisms differ, the underlying objectives and principles of operation are much the same.


How do I find out more about the LES project?

I work as a local authority air quality officer but missed the chance to join the LES Peer Group. I appreciate that I have 'missed the boat' with respect to this. However, I would really like to gain an insight and some practical advice from others who have managed to implement this approach successfully. I would be grateful for any advice you may be able to offer on how I could achieve this or contact details for anyone who may be able to help.

The best thing to do is to sign up to our newsletter. This will keep you up to speed on new case studies, project progress and upcoming events. Also keep visiting the website to check for updates and new information. We should soon have details about a conference in September 2009 where we will be highlighting the work of the project and future steps.

If you have a specific enquiry or project idea, then please do contact us. If your question is one which others would benefit from hearing then we may add it to our list of FAQs.


How do I find out about what approaches are being used and specific examples of LES agreements?

Our draft guidance provides a range of examples of LES in practice. We will also be building a database of examples over the coming months. If you have a specific enquiry, please contact the group and we will do our best to advise you.


What has happened to the LES Guidance?

Has the draft been finalised and is there any news on whether it will be incorporated into Defra’s guidance? I am particularly interested if the section on air quality action funding/LES funding remains in the final document.

The draft guidance has been very well received. We are working on a final version and do not anticipate any dramatic changes from the original. We are hopeful that the document will be adopted by Defra within the LAQM suite of practice guidance, though these plans are yet to be confirmed. We expect to have further announcements shortly.


© 2009 Low Emission Strategies Partnership