Oxford City Council has published plans to ban the use of gas for heating and cooking in all of its new housing.
Recognising that 60% of the city’s total carbon emissions come from its buildings – with residential buildings taking up 25% – Oxford City Council’s new ‘Local Plan 2040,’ will require that no fossil fuels be directly used in the operation of new housing or commercial developments (e.g., no gas for heating or cooking).
According to policy R1 of the Plan, this means that new developments ought to be designed so that they do not rely on systems that directly burn fossil fuels to meet occupants’ daily needs, particularly for heating, but also for cooking. Instead, the policy encourages the use of electric heating technologies such as heat pumps.
The requirement for all new homes and businesses in Oxford to be zero carbon, as to the standard set within the Local Plan 2040, has also been brought forward. According to the council this is likely to happen in 2025.
The Local Plan 2040 builds on its 2036 predecessor, which included requirements such as car-free developments to be build when within a controlled parking zone, near regular bus routes and close to local shops.
The Plan’s draft was approved by the City Council’s Cabinet in October and is currently out for public consultation until 5 January to help inform the final draft, to be published and submitted to the government’s Planning Inspectorate in spring 2024.
Oxford has been home to a number of progressive renewable projects including Local Energy Oxfordshire (Project LEO), which includes a number of elements including electric vehicle (EV) charging, energy storage technologies and smart grid capabilities, and a ‘Heat Pump Ready’ neighbourhood in Oxford led by Samsung Research UK.