Developing in London can certainly be a challenging business. A unique and fast paced property market, uncompromising clients and some stringent regulatory standards can really drive the design decisions on a new development. Ultimately a lot of regulatory requirements stem from the London Plan; the Mayor’s strategic development plan for the London Boroughs. It covers off a vast array of topics, from where to develop within London to how much water your taps and showers should use. The London Plan also sets out a Carbon Emission reduction target, which all major new build developments should meet. It’s a challenging target and in this series of blogs we’ll run through what you need to do and when, to make sure you know what challenges lie in front of you and how you can meet them.
So where do we start?
Policy 5.2 of the London Plan 2011, states that Major development should achieve a 35% reduction over the Part L 2013 Target Emission Rate (as amended by the Sustainable Design and Construction SPG 2014). Major development is defined as sites containing 10 or more dwellings, or non-domestic developments with a floor area of 1000m2 or greater. Where these criteria apply you’ll need to demonstrate, through an Energy Strategy, that the site (including both domestic and non-domestic units) achieves the 35% reduction. This target must also be considered at planning stage, and the energy strategy submitted along with your planning application. Failure to do this will likely invalidate your application. Some of you may have noted that this target is much more stringent than targets applied elsewhere in the country.
There are several reasons for this:
- Energy security; London has a much higher heating and electrical demand that other UK cities and this demand is only set to increase. The London Plan, whilst reducing energy consumption, also encourages efficient heating strategies and on site electricity generation. By reducing energy consumption and providing additional energy generation, London becomes less susceptible (although certainly not immune) to energy supply issues and electricity shortages.
- Future proofing; by placing emphasis on district heating London developments are becoming future proofed. In time as low and zero Carbon fuel sources are developed, it becomes relatively easy to switch a conventional heating system in a central plant room for a new fuel source. This avoids problems with retrofitting 1000s of dwellings, when just a single plant room needs to be altered.
- A 60% carbon Reduction target by 2025; pretty stringent but this is what the mayor has committed to. It’s worth noting that the Carbon Target set out in the London Plan is not followed consistently across the London Boroughs. Some will set more stringent targets, others will apply the target to all development, not just major development. This just highlights how important it is to engage with your Local Authority before submitting your application so you’re really clear on what you need to achieve.
How do you go about meeting the carbon target set out in the London Plan?
Primarily you need to follow the Energy Hierarchy set out in the Design and Construction SPG: When submitting a planning application for a major development, an energy assessment must be submitted along with your planning application which details how the development addresses each step of the hierarchy. The specific requirements of each step are set out in the Sustainable Design and Construction SPG, but to save you reading the whole document, we’ll be running through each part of the hierarchy every two weeks in this blog, starting off with Be Lean; reducing energy demand. We’ll also be pulling these blogs together into a handy Guide to the London Plan Carbon Target which will be available for download once the series has finished. If you’re interested in this guide, register your details here.