Agenda item

Update on the Net Zero Homes Plan - Facilitating Domestic Air Source Heat Pump Installation

To consider the report and presentation of the Director of Communities, Housing & Environment to support discussions on proposals to facilitate the installation of domestic air source heat pumps whether a new Local Development Order should be developed to remove planning barriers to the deployment of heat pumps.



The Committee received a discussion paper and associated supplementary document to support discussions on the Net Zero Homes Plan which aims to insulate homes, install low carbon heating systems and retro-fit renewables in homes.


In providing the Committee with a presentation, George Munson, Senior Project Manager, Sustainable Energy and Air Quality (SEAQ) Team highlighted the work currently being undertaken by the SEAQ Team with partners:

·  By the end of 2023, the partnership established between Octopus Energy, Lloyds and Leeds City Council aimed to create a one stop shop for the 'able to pay' sector.

·  Over time, and with the support of Green Homes Finance Accelerator, creating a property linked finance product to provide a means to invest in homes without the need for upfront costs.

·  Engaging and motivating people to choose low carbon retrofits.

·  Upscaling area renewal investment, using social housing investment to kick start work on all tenures in neighbouring homes.

·  Improving the planning framework and engaging with the industry to ensure new homes reach net zero standards.

·  Zoning the city, to indicate the most suitable fabric investments and heating solutions by neighbourhood.

·  Expanding green jobs, skills and supply chains to meet demand.


The presentation also highlighted the following:

·  Residents were encouraged to install Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) when their existing heating system required replacement, however it was recognised that there were issues which slowed the process, including;

-  the need to obtain agreement from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before making the switch.

-  the approach to planning was not consistent across local Planning Authorities. Some ASHPs require planning permission (due to noise, size and location) and it can take up to 8 weeks to process a planning application.

·  The establishment of a Local Development Order (LDO) could help address some planning barriers, but this would need to be carefully considered and could only go ahead following public consultation, which would incur officer time and some expense. 


During discussions the following matters were considered:

·  The need to ensure homes are properly insulated.

·  Education was key to highlight to residents the advantages of low carbon alternatives for warm homes which would encourage changes to lifestyle choices and on the proper use of the pumps to maximise the benefits.

·  Design, size and specification of ASHPs to meet the need of individual homes.

·  The need for a suitably skilled workforce in the supply chain and future maintenance of the equipment.

·  The benefit of sharing experience with neighbouring authorities

·  In response to some Members concerns that implementation of ASHPs now would mean that they would be obsolete in just a few years time because the technology would advance quickly, the Committee received assurance that Leeds was in a strong position to remove the barriers to ASHP uptake as some ASHPs are made by gas boilermakers who are already familiar to the domestic heating market, there is a national move towards heat pumps and importantly, European countries have been using ASHP for some time so ASHP are past the first iteration of equipment.

·  Support for the LDO and the opportunity for Leeds to take the lead on this approach.

·  The impact of the size of domestic units and associated noise in both rural and urban settings and consideration of these issues in the Councils own planning policies through the Development Plan Panel. 

·  In terms of expanding green jobs, skills and supply chains to meet demand, the suggestion that the WYCA Skills Sub Committee be involved in this work was noted.

·  That Octopus or WYCA be approached to see if funding can help support the development of the LDO.


In response to the questions posed the Committee gave the following responses:


-  The Committee agreed that ASHP were an issue in Leeds City Council,

-  The Committee supported the introduction of an LDO,

-  The Committee agreed that the LDO should cover the issues of distance/boundaries; size and noise regarding domestic installation, and

-  The Committee agreed that an LDO should cover the whole of the city,



a)  That the contents of the presentation and discussions be noted.

b)  That the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee support the development of a new Local Development Order to remove planning barriers to the deployment of heat pumps, subject to resource availability.



Supporting documents: