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The London Plan meets Part L 2013

So the London Plan carbon target has received its Part L 2013 makeover. Previously all major developments within the London Boroughs would need to achieve a 40% reduction over the Part L 2010 Target Emission Rate (effective from the 1st October last year).

From the 6th April 2014, all major developments should achieve a 35% reduction over the Part L 2013 Target Emission Rate. Whilst the Government has been less than ambitious with the Part L 2013 TER, the Mayor of London hasn’t flinched and is pushing ahead with what looks to be a challenging and stringent target. It’s also worth noting this 35% target applies to both residential and non-domestic builds. Part L 2013 and the associated SAP and SBEM methodologies are still in their infancy. Subsequently, if you submit your planning application on or before the 5th July 2014, you’ll have the option to design to one of the following:

-       A 40% reduction over the carbon emission targets of Part L 2010

-       A 35% reduction over the carbon emission targets of Part L 2013

Whether your site is pre-registered under Part L 2010 will probably dictate which target you chose to design to. Choices choices! After the 5th of July however the 35% reduction comes into force across the board. This update to the London Plan is outlined in the Sustainable Design and Construction SPG produced by the GLA. This document provides guidance to the London Boroughs when preparing their Local Development Frameworks and therefore becomes a material consideration when a planning application is determined.

The London Boroughs may also apply this 35% target to all new development, not just major developments (10 dwellings or more or non-domestic developments of 1000m2 or more). The SPG also gives us a quick insight into the clash between the Mayor’s targets and the impending introduction of National Standards, following the Housing Standards Review.

Unfortunately it’s little more than a glimpse and the SPG just states that the Government and the Mayor will work closely together to “resolve tensions” between the conflicting goals. Watch this space… Back to the here and now; how do you go about meeting these stringent carbon targets? The London Plan sets out a three stage hierarchy that needs to be addressed: 

1.    Be Lean: Use less energy

The development should be designed to exceed the requirements of Part L 2013 through energy efficiency measures alone. These can include high levels of insulation, energy efficient glazing (maximised for solar gain (whilst minimising the risk of summer overheating) reducing thermal bridging and improving air tightness.

2.   Be Clean: Supply energy efficiently

A major development should evaluate supplying energy through one of the following:

  1. Connection to existing district heating networks
  2. Provision of CHP where feasible
  3. Communal heating and cooling

All apartment blocks and non-domestic units should be served by a single energy centre, whether this be offsite district heating or on site community heating/CHP. Houses however can be served by an individual heating system.

3.    Be Green: Use renewable energy

The London Plan assumes that there will be a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from renewable energy sources where feasible. You may well find however, that if you can meet the 35% target without renewable energy, then your LPA could waive this requirement. By following this hierarchy developers and architects should find themselves meeting the 35% reduction, however your energy strategy will need to be considered before submitting your planning application and preferably whilst you still have design flexibility. Certain developments could really struggle to achieve the 35% reduction and where this is the case, a developer could have to make a payment into a Carbon Reduction Fund, owned and managed by the Local Authority.

The payment should be based on 30 years of CO2 emissions and calculated based on a price of carbon set by the Local Authority (expect lots of variation from Borough to Borough). Whether you meet the new 35% target through the use of district heating, CHP or a carbon offset payment, one thing is clear – the GLA is setting a stringent target for major development within the London Boroughs and this target will influence the design of your development. Make sure these targets are addressed as early as possible in the design process to ensure you don’t incur any costly re-designs or delays. Call us on 020 7129 8123 if you have any upcoming projects and we’ll be on hand to help you through the finer points of the London Plan.

Stuart Clark

Author: Stuart Clark

This article was published by Stuart Clark on 28.04.2014.