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8 Minute Read • The London Plan

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Planning in London

The London Plan
The London Plan

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Planning in London


The London Plan targets have a huge impact on both design and build costs for new developments and need to be addressed before submitting a planning application.

Here’s our Top 10 summary of what you need to know:

1. The on-site Carbon Target

The London Plan requires that a major new build development improves on the carbon target in the Building Regulations by 35% on site. This means efficient building services and enhanced building fabric, impacting your layouts and design.

2. The Zero Carbon Target

London boroughs are now asking developers to meet a Zero Carbon target for residential developments, and although possible, it is rarely achieved on site. Carbon Offset Payments are used to compensate for not reaching a Zero Carbon target and the money raised is invested into local green projects. The payments can be considerable so make sure you’re aware of the impact.

3. Noise considerations

In London it’s hard to avoid the noisy environment and almost 2.4 million people in the capital are already exposed to noise levels that exceed international guidelines.1 If you are building near an underground station, railway line or busy road, you may need to commission an acoustic survey. Although not part of building regulation requirements, it will likely be requested by the local planning authority and will affect your overheating and ventilation strategy.

4. Overheating risk

In the summer, London can be up to 10°C warmer than the rest of the country2 and the risk of overheating is therefore much higher. Overheating leads to uncomfortable and sometimes unhealthy internal temperatures and the London Plan will require thermal modelling to ensure that a building’s design minimises this risk.

5. Local Variations

Are there additional requirements that have been requested by your borough? Although the London Plan has been adopted by all boroughs, individual councils have the power to set tougher targets in their own planning documents if they consider there is a local need for more stringent targets. It’s always best to check what is expected before submitting a planning application.

6. Natural Daylight

With tightly packed buildings emerging in the densely populated capital, ensuring that your building will receive ample levels of daylight can be a challenge. Equally, the construction of your building may negatively impact a neighbour’s access to sunlight. The use of 3D modelling can help to show the daylight and sunlight impact.

7. District Heating and Combined Heat and Power

As part of the London Plan Energy Hierarchy, energy must be supplied efficiently to a development. This can either be achieved by connecting to a District Heat Network (DHN) or installing on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP). However, the viability of these will be assessed depending on the type and size of the development and whether is network is available in the area.


Most London Boroughs require a BREEAM Assessment on non-residential developments. Credits are based on up to 52 different considerations ranging from site waste management and responsibly sourced materials, to ecological improvements and transport links. BREEAM needs to be considered from day one, so it’s vital to appoint an approved assessor early in the planning process.

9. Water Efficiency

The London Plan sets a water efficiency target of 105 litres per person per day and these targets mean you need to consider flow rates as part of the design. This can be achieved by using efficient fittings. If you have a tougher, local requirement, this may push you towards rainwater harvesting systems.

10. Plan Ahead

When you consider all of the above, it becomes clear just how much thought and preparation is needed right from the beginning. You may need to submit reams of reports to the authority before you can put the first spade in the ground. Planning ahead is key to making sure you don’t get caught out later on. It’s never ideal to be forced into making retrospective changes half-way through construction.


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