An eco-assessment of Europe’s largest regeneration project

Background

Strategically positioned between London and mainland Europe, Kent Thameside is one of the UK’s most exciting regeneration opportunities. By 2026, it is planned that the area will deliver 50,000 new jobs, 25,000 new homes and will have attracted £2 billion of investment. The Government’s Thames Gateway Eco-region Prospectus recognises the huge opportunity this regeneration offers in demonstrating new sustainability standards for development projects across the UK.

Challenge

Kent Thameside benefits from extensive and diverse natural, logistical and geographical assets. These assets influence a complex portfolio of opportunities to deploy renewable and low carbon energy in pursuit of maximum environmental and financial returns.

The Kent Thameside Regeneration Partnership selected us to identify the mix of low carbon technologies that offered the greatest economically viable potential for 17 of the area’s preferred development sites.

Solution

Working with planning consultants Savills, we assessed the carbon reduction opportunities of a wide range of low carbon and renewable energy technologies, considering the status of each of the preferred development sites and the type of proposed development.

Our eco-assessment took account of local barriers that constrained the adoption of the technologies and explored what would need to be done to overcome them. In addition, we assessed how local public bodies could set policy and targets that would incentivise the delivery of renewable energy and maximise low carbon ambition.

Result

We identified a significant technical potential for implementing energy efficiency measures and exploiting local wind, solar and energy-from-waste resources. The study clearly set out the processes needed to achieve this potential, together with long-term opportunities for heat recovery from power stations.

We also identified a key role that public sector bodies could play in using their non-cash assets to initiate two transformational projects - the Microgeneration Initiative and the Kent Thameside Biomass Project.

Our analysis determined that an overall carbon reduction target of 16% could be achieved by 2026 through low carbon and renewable energy technologies, complemented by a minimum 20% carbon reduction target being delivered from new developments.

Critically, we advised on how Local Development Frameworks could support the implementation of renewable and low carbon energy technologies in the area.