Stoke-on-Trent City Council outlines their involvement in the European energy efficient city project, PLEEC.

As part of the European Union’s 10-year growth strategy, Europe 2020 concentrates on 5 vital targets to create the conditions for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. Within the targets, the European Commission has set climate change and energy sustainability targets in their Europe 2020 Strategy. While the 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the 20% of energy from renewables are on target to be delivered by 2020, the 20% increase in energy efficiency is lagging behind.

It is acknowledged that comprehensive knowledge about energy efficiency potentials, particularly in cities, is still scarce. There are a variety of individual strategies and approaches by different cities that mostly tackle specific aspects of energy efficiency, but not as a whole entity for a city. Therefore, a consortium made of 9 universities, 6 medium size cities, including Stoke-on-Trent, and 3 private sector companies have come together to develop an integrative approach to contribute to sustainable and energy efficient smart cities. This collaborative project covering 13 EU countries is termed “Planning for Energy Efficient Cities” (PLEEC).

The project is funded under the EU Seventh Framework Programme and will consider energy efficiency through 3 main pillars: behavioural change, the planning system and technology.

The PLEEC project will identify what actions a city can take to deliver effective reduction in energy consumption through behaviour change. By targeting key stakeholders such as policy and decision makers, the general public and the private sector, the project will utilise best practice examples and develop educational techniques to bring about organizational and individual behavioural change to improve energy efficiency.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • To assess the energy-saving solutions and potentials to be integrated in a comprehensive city planning;
  • To demonstrate how integrative planning is more efficient than separate measures;
  • To develop a synergised model for energy efficiency planning by considering the energy efficiency potential of key aspects;
  • To create action plans to be presented to decision makers in the cities;
  • To identify the future research agenda on the issue of energy-smart cities.

The PLEEC project also acknowledges that the planning system has a major role to play in delivering energy efficiency solutions. By analysing the planning system within each partner city, the project seeks to identify both successes and obstacles in tackling energy efficiency. The findings will identify the key aspects of urban planning that each partner city should focus on to deliver energy efficient potential. The potential of new technology to deliver improvements in energy efficiency is a key component of the PLEEC project. Industry and experts in the field will lead on identifying new innovative technical solutions to address to reduce energy use across each partner city.

For Stoke-on-Trent, PLEEC aims to deliver an approach for sustainable city planning, in which the goal of energy efficiency takes the centre stage. Scientific expertise and innovative enterprises will be combined to investigate and implement good practice in energy efficiency and environmental matters.

In the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the need to reduce energy use and move towards a low-carbon economy has been firmly set through a number of acts and planning guidance. The message is clear that action is required to help deliver this change to ensure that business remains competitive and opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of the built environment are taken.

In a planning system reliant on an approach supported by local evidence, the PLEEC Project will have an important role to play in providing this strategic direction for energy efficiency in the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

By coordinating strategies and combining best practices, the project will deliver a model for energy efficiency and sustainable planning for each partner city. This will be accompanied by bespoke action plans for implementation and management that will identify the most cost effective method to address the EU goals to reduce energy use by 20% till 2020. The action plan will form a key evidence base document that will be taken forward in the form of planning policy and guidance within the statutory development plan for Stoke-on-Trent.

All stakeholders need to respond to the challenge of reducing energy consumption. Meaningful action cannot be delivered in isolation – but only through co-operation. The PLEEC Project provides this opportunity for a wide variety of stakeholders to contribute towards delivering a vision and help deliver the necessary changes.

For the latest information regarding the project, please visit the PLEEC website:


Edward Sidley

Senior Planning Policy Officer

Sébastien Danneels

Economic Development Officer

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Tel: 01782 234234

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