On 12 November, Thameswey hosted a delegation of visitors from the city of Sapporo, Japan.

The delegates, which included the city’s head of urban planning and its energy projects team,  were on a fact finding tour of the UK and wanted  to learn about Thameswey’s experiences of working with local planning authorities to integrate low carbon energy infrastructure within local spatial planning.  The group was led by Professor Miki Murakai of Chiba University who has visited Woking and Thameswey a number of times as part of her research into local authority leadership on energy across the globe.

Sapporo, which has a population of 1.9 million, has a large and well-established district heat network supplied by biomass and CHP.  However, the  development of its low carbon energy infrastructure has been largely independent of strategic planning.  Sapporo is seeking to bring together new infrastructure projects, an energy efficiency retrofit programme and its spatial planning functions into a single ‘smart city’ energy master plan.

The delegation was keen to hear about Thameswey’s work in Woking and Milton Keynes helping local planning authorities deliver their strategic planning and corporate objectives for the supply of low carbon energy into new developments and existing buildings. Woking’s adoption of a Supplementary Planning Document identifying heat zones within major growth areas was of particular interest.  Before leaving Woking, the group visited WWF’s Living Planet Centre, one of the most recent new buildings to connect to Thameswey’s network.