Sustainable Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

What do you think

Consultation on our Sustainable Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is underway and comments are welcome.

What is the Sustainable Design Guide?

The Sustainable Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is an important planning policy document setting out how new developments in the district can achieve net-zero operational carbon emissions and the highest standards of energy and water efficiency.

Why is the design guide needed?

In June 2019, Canterbury City Council declared a climate emergency. Alongside the declaration, a commitment was made to a Net Zero Carbon Emissions target of 2030 for council operations and responsibilities, and a target of net zero emissions by 2045 across the full range of activities needed to support the council’s work.

Following this declaration, Canterbury City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) was developed and then adopted in May 2021, to provide a plan to achieve the 2030 target.

The plan includes actions which influence the reduction of carbon emissions at an organisational level, and also a wider district level; for which the roles of planning and transportation are major contributors.

A key action featured within the CCAP is to ensure climate action is a priority in the new draft local plan and therefore, the draft Canterbury District Local Plan (2040) includes Policy DS6 on Sustainable Design. The policy is supported by this Sustainable Design Guide SPD, which has the tools to implement net zero design and measure the operational carbon impact of a building.

The council acknowledges that, in some circumstances, a net zero operational carbon standard may not be achievable. Where this can be demonstrated, applicants have the option to offset via Canterbury City Council’s carbon offset fund.

The requirement to achieve net zero operational emissions for new residential and commercial developments from the outset eliminates the need for future retrofitting works and will improve resilience against climate change in the district.

What does the design guide include?

The Sustainable Design Guide has been split into chapters as listed below. The core chapters correspond to requirements of the Sustainable Design Statement, to be submitted with a planning application.

The chapters are as follows:

  • Policy and context
  • Built form
  • Construction materials
  • Water efficiency
  • Waste and transportation
  • Calculating energy efficiency and carbon
  • Carbon Offset Fund
  • What to submit with your planning application
  • Implementation and monitoring
  • Appendix

View the design guide.

Have your say

Give us your views by completing our questionnaire by 5pm on Monday 3 June 2024.

If you need a paper copy of the survey, or if you have a need or disability that means you need the document (or aspects of it) in a different format, please contact Victoria Asimaki, Principal Policy Officer (Engagement) at

If you would like to see what questions you will be asked before you start filling in the survey, you can see a list of the questions.

Please note: only one submission per person will be accepted for this consultation, any subsequent submissions will be deleted.

What happens next?

All the feedback we receive will be reported to councillors before the final Sustainable Design Guide is published.

Once adopted, the SPD will be a material consideration in determining applications and all development proposals will be required to demonstrate that they have taken it into consideration.

Published: 12 March 2024

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