Mandatory requirements for the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM across Wales are being scrapped. The Welsh Government has released a letter which confirms the planning policy TAN22 will no longer be applied from the end of July.
This date coincides with the launch of the Welsh Part L – the first time energy efficiency targets for new buildings will be assessed separately in England and Wales. As things currently stand, all new dwellings in Wales need to be registered under the Code, and need to show an 8% improvement in CO2 emissions over Part L 2010. Larger non-domestic buildings need to be constructed in line with the requirements of BREEAM. From the end of July, tighter emission targets brought in under Part L 2014 will mean new dwellings will need to show an 8% reduction over Part L 2010, and a 20% reduction for non-domestic.
In a statement from Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Minister for Housing and Regeneration, it has been confirmed that the Policy which requires Code and BREEAM is going to be abolished. The Part L launch has been singled out as a key decision in this sudden change in policy. The statement reads: “I believe TAN22 has served its purpose now that the Welsh Government has control over Building Regulations which provide a more appropriate vehicle for setting building standards.” Unlike in England, where local planners can opt in to the Code, councils in Wales are not being given the option.
The statement continues: “I do not expect local planning authorities to develop policies for the use of local sustainable standards…” Separate policies which reinforce the need to give further emphasis on the design of new developments to tackle causes of climate change, and which expect planners to assess strategic sites to identify opportunities for high sustainable building standards will still apply. Although this would suggest things are going to get easier when it comes to sustainability in the Welsh housing market, the transitional arrangements aren’t so black and white.
Existing developments, or those which are approved before July 31st, may still need to comply with all the relevant Code or BREEAM requirements, but it is the decision of planning departments at a local level whether to continue to enforce the requirements on existing sites, or to wind the scheme up overnight. It is understood that the Code for Sustainable Homes will be phased out of England at the start of 2015, although no official documents have been released to confirm details. Wales is committed to changing Part L in future to ensure all new buildings are ‘nearly zero carbon’ by 2019 – the next planned updated to the Building Regulations for both England and Wales is in 2016. Register for your guide to Part L in Wales here.