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London Plan carbon/energy consultations

January 2021: A bit late highlighting – but there are two key GLA planning guidance document out for consultation, linked to new energy policies in the new 2020 London Plan. Both documents have a deadline for response of 15 January 2021.

Whole Life Carbon Assessments London Plan Guidance
This document provides advice on the preparation of Whole Life-Cycle Carbon Assessments, which are required for certain planning applications that measures the carbon emissions resulting from the materials, construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including its demolition and disposal. The consultation document is available here; respond via the following webpage.

The assessment should cover the development’s carbon emissions over its life-time, accounting for:

  • its operational carbon emissions (both regulated and unregulated)
  • its embodied carbon emissions
  • any future potential carbon emissions ‘benefits’, post ‘end of life’, including benefits from reuse and recycling of building structure and materials. See also London Plan Policy SI 7 ‘Reducing waste and supporting the circular economy’.
Continue reading…
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London Plan: letter from the Secretary of State for Housing to the Mayor

13 March 2020: The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), Robert Jenrick MP, has written to the Mayor on issues relating to housing and the New London Plan stating that there is a “need for an improved London Plan that meets London’s housing needs.” The Minister’s letter (which has attracted press attention – see here and here) goes on to say “I am left with no choice but to exercise my powers to direct changes.” An accompanying Annex to the letter sets out the changes the Minister wants to the London Plan. None of these relate to the major steps forward the New London Plan has proposed on increasing the carbon and energy efficiency of London’s new developments (see Policy SI 2 Minimising greenhouse gas emissions of the ‘Intend to Publish London Plan‘) – however – there will now be a delay to the publication to the London Plan until the Mayor enacts the changes set out in the Annex. The letter states:

“Due to the number of the inconsistencies with national policy and missed opportunities to increase housing delivery, I am exercising my powers under section 337 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to direct that you cannot publish the London Plan until you have incorporated the Directions I have set out at Annex 1. Should you consider alternative changes to policy to address my concerns, I am also content to consider these.”

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London Plan spurs on carbon savings in new developments

30 June 2014: The latest annual assessment report of energy and carbon savings secured through the Mayor’s planning requirements has just been published by the GLA.

An energy assessment is required for each planning application referable to the Mayor, setting out how the London Plan energy policies will be met within the development. Specifically, applicants are required to set out how the planning applications apply the following energy hierarchy: Be lean: use less energy / Be clean: supply energy efficiently / Be green: use renewable energy. Further information on the London Plan energy policies can be viewed here.

The report provides an overview of the number of developments that have been approved by the Mayor and boroughs for planning, and importantly, the extent that these developments have committed to the use of sustainable energy solutions to help reduce their carbon and energy impact. The report summarises that – in 2013 alone – the London Plan’s energy policies have supported:

  • circa £17 million of investment in combined heat and power (CHP) plant able to produce 25MW of electricity and a similar amount of heat – broadly equivalent to the amount required to supply 50,000 homes.
  • around £103 million of investment in heat network infrastructure for circa 41,000 communally heated dwellings
  • £13 million in photovoltaic panels and additional investment in other renewable energy technologies
  • Regulated CO2 emission reductions of 36 per cent more than required by Part L 2010 of the Building Regulations. This represents a circa 30 per cent regulated CO2 reduction compared to the new 2013 Building Regulations (ie London Plan policies are already directing developers to energy strategies delivering 30% more CO2 savings above the government’s new building regulation requirements, which came into operation in April 2014).

Also provided is a summary of what has been secured over each of the past 4 years as a result of the London Plan’s energy policies.

This highlights that potentially:

  • More than 150,000 new dwellings will be connected to district heating networks in London
  • Close to 100 MW of CHP capacity has been secured
  • And over 230,000 m2 of PV is to be installed.
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Latest review of implementation of London Plan energy policies

September 2013: The GLA have recently produced their latest update on how the energy and climate policies in London’s spatial planning strategy – the London Plan – have helped drive forward the development of lower carbon buildings in the capital. The new 2013 report – along with previous years studies – can be downloaded here. An earlier post here provides some details on these reports.

The study ‘Energy Planning: Monitoring the implementation of London Plan energy policies in 2012‘ provides an analysis of the energy assessments relating to all finalised (stage II) planning applications determined from 1 January to 31 December 2012. As the Executive Summary of the report sets out “London planning authorities must consult the Mayor on all planning applications that are of strategic importance to London . For each planning application referable to the Mayor, an energy assessment is required setting out how the development will meet the London Plan energy policies. Following the order of the Mayor’s energy hierarchy, each energy assessment is required to set out how the development will:

  • Use less energy
  • Supply energy efficiently
  • Use renewable energy”

The analysis highlights how the London Plan’s policies are making significant headway in helping drive forward the development of more energy efficient, climate-friendly buildings in London. Some of the findings include:

  • High levels of energy demand reduction achieved with developments exceeding the requirements of Building Regulations through energy efficiency alone. The associated investment of circa £32 million will help to reduce consumers’ energy bills.
  • Circa £20 million of investment in new, high efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) plant able to produce 29MW of electricity and a similar amount of heat.
  • 74MW of cumulative CHP electrical capacity has been secured through the planning process since 2010 to the end of 2012, broadly equivalent to the capacity required to supply 150,000 homes.
  • Circa £133 million of investment in heat network infrastructure for approximately 53,000 communally heated dwellings
  • Continued investment in on-site renewable energy systems, including approximately £16 million to provide circa 87,000m2 of photovoltaic solar panels.
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The economic value of implementing the London Plan energy policies

February 2013: “The London Plan sets out a range of energy policies which developers are required to comply with. As well as setting CO2 reduction targets for new developments, these policies support the implementation of the Mayor’s energy hierarchy: 1) using less energy; 2) supplying energy efficiently; and 3) renewable energy. Whilst the core benefits from the implementation of these policies, for example carbon dioxide savings, are routinely monitored, the economic benefits arising from implementing these policies is not quantified.”

The Mayor is therefore commissioning work to “to estimate the projected investment and number of jobs that result from completed developments which obtained planning permission from the Mayor. The job and investment projections will be informed by collecting data from a number of approved planning applications and completed developments (e.g. via site visits) to determine the costs of implementing specific measures.” Full details on the project approval document here.

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Monitoring the impact of London Plan Energy Policies

January 2012: The regional spatial strategy for London – the London Plan 2011 – contains a number of key sustainable energy and carbon requirements which developers must comply with when submitting planning applications for new developments in London.  Chapter 5 of the London Plan specifically addresses London’s Response to Climate Change and sets out the following policy requirements:

  • Policy 5.2Minimising  carbon emissions – which sets out a range of CO2 emission targets  for new developments which must be achieved through a hierarchy of ‘Be lean: use less energy; Be clean: supply energy efficiently and Be green: use renewable energy
  • Policy 5.5 – Use Decentralised Energy Systems which amongst other issues requires boroughs to develop energy master plans for specific decentralised energy opportunities
  • Policy 5.7Renewable Energy – where major development proposals should provide a reduction in expected emissions through the use of on-site renewable energy generation, where feasible.

The GLA yesterday published the latest in a series of reports providing analysis of CO2 emissions saved in relation to new developments as a result of the implementation of the London Plan’s policies.

The analysis demonstrated that substantial projected CO2 savings were secured  through implementation of London Plan energy policies in 2010 (ie the the London policies will result in buildings – when completed – which will  be less carbon intensive than requirements otherwise set out in national building regulations). Specifically:

  • average CO2 savings of 33 per cent per development over and above a baseline of a 2006 Building Regulations Part L compliant development including unregulated energy
  • a reduction of approximately 50 per cent in regulated CO2 emissions beyond the minimum requirements of 2006 Building Regulations (excluding unregulated energy)
  • The largest CO2 reductions were due to energy efficiency (EE) and combined heat and power (CHP), with a smaller saving due to renewable energy

Read the full report here. Previous London Plan energy monitoring analysis can be seen here and here.

* ‘Unregulated energy’ relates to those areas not covered by Part L of the building regulations (which is concerned with energy and emissions). These include energy used by appliances, lifts, cooking etc.

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London Plan Energy & Climate Policies

26 July 2011: After close to two years of consultation, London’s new spatial strategy has been published by the Mayor. The London Plan  forms part of the development plan for Greater London and London boroughs’ local plans need to be in general conformity with the London Plan. Its policies guide decisions on planning applications for new developments and strategies by councils and the Mayor. Chapter 5 of the strategy focuses on London’s response to climate change and building on previous versions of the London Plan (2004 and 2008), which achieved a significant impact on the carbon efficiency of new development, the new London Plan sets out a number of requirements. These include:

  • CO2 savings of 25 per cent more than national building requirements at a minimum on all new developments
  • As previously, all major development should provide detailed energy assessments on how these emission savings are to be made
  • In contrast to the Government’s recent climb-down in its definition of ‘zero carbon’, London Plan Policy 5.2Da requires energy assessments to include separate details of unregulated emissions and proposals for how these emissions are to be reduced
  • When preparing LDFs boroughs should identify opportunities for reducing CO2 emissions from the existing building stock, and also identify and establish decentralised energy network opportunities.
  • With the aid of the London Heat Map, boroughs should develop energy master plans for specific decentralised energy opportunities.

Further policy requirements for decentralised energy systems, renewable and innovative energy technologies and the overheating and cooling of buildings are also set out in the Plan.

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London Plan- Monitoring Energy and Carbon

7 February 2011: The London Plan Annual Monitoring Report has been published which provides information on two key per performance indicators of interest:
KPI 22: Reduction in CO2 emissions – which sets out a useful table showing a time series of sectoral emissions in London from 1990 to 2008, however, in relation to newer data the AMR states “No new data are available since the last AMR was published, with the most recent measurement of London’s CO2 emissions being the 2008 London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI). It is anticipated that data on carbon dioxide emissions will in the future be published annually, but two years in arrears given the analysis required. Information for assessing the 2010 benchmark will therefore only be available in 2012.”
KPI 23: Increase in energy generated from renewable sources – the AMR states that “No new data have been collected in the last two years” but “The GLA has commissioned a new study that will investigate the potential for renewable energy and
also provide updated figures on the amount of current generation in London (the ‘London Renewable and Decentralised Energy Potential Study’).”

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Monitoring the London Plan Energy Policies­ Phase 3

December 2009: London South Bank University (LSBU) analysis of carbon and energy savings delivered through the implementation of the Mayor’s planning requirements. Also see Phase 2 report.

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Mayor’s Draft Replacement London Plan

12 October 2009: The London Plan includes proposed revisions to the Mayor’s energy and climate policies in relation to planning as well initial indications of renewable energy potential and targets in London (Table 5.1 Targets for installed energy capacity generated from renewable).

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Review of the impact of the energy policies in the London Plan on applications referred to the Mayor (Phase 2)

September 2007: London South Bank University (LSBU) review of the environmental impact, in terms of reduced energy use and carbon emissions, of the London Plan energy policies on applications referred to the Mayor.

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A Green New Deal for London

15 December 2020: London’s Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, writes for UK100 on the Mayor’s Green New Deal for London plan. Shirley writes “In practice, the Green New Deal means we will:

  • Work towards getting all London’s buildings to Net Zero emissions
  • Modernise our public transport, make our city greener and better able to cope with the impacts of a warmer climate
  • Build the economic, social, and political foundations so London’s green economy can grow. This means mobilising green finance, planning for a just transition and calling on government to give us powers and resources to meet the city’s climate targets by 2030.”

For more on the Mayor’s Green New Deal, see the following post.

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