New energy policies set out in Mayor’s planning rules

15 January 2014: The Mayor today published proposed revisions to London’s strategic planning framework, the 2011 London Plan. Amongst the series of new policies put forward in the ‘Draft FALP’ (the Further Alterations to the London Plan) are two new proposals on energy – as set out in Chapter 5 ‘London’s Response to Climate Change‘. [to be clear- the blue text in the FALP are the proposed changes to the main 2011 London Plan. It is this text that is being consulted upon].

The first is interesting, and innovative, and relates to the Mayor wanting to see the use of demand side management technologies in new developments. This broadly relates to the incorporation of building energy management monitoring systems, smart meters and smart controls.

5.22a Demand side management is a further way developments can minimise their carbon dioxide emissions as well as minimise the need for additional generating and distribution infrastructure. Demand side management enables non-essential equipment to be turned off or to operate at a lower capacity to respond to the wider availability of energy in the network – that is, the wider energy demand and generation across the network. Developments are encouraged to include infrastructure to enable demand side management.

This is more of a ‘desire’ from the Mayor. The main new requirement in the FALP is however principally aimed at local authorities, in a whole new policy in the London Plan5.4a – on ‘Electricity and Gas supply‘. This is prefaced earlier on in the chapter with a new para 5.9a stating that “long term vision for London’s energy infrastructure is a resilient electricity network“.

Policy 5.4a  states that the “Mayor will work with the relevant energy companies, Ofgem the regulator, national Government, the boroughs, developers, business representatives and others to promote strategic investment in electricity and gas infrastructure where and when it is required to accommodate the anticipated levels of growth in London”

and goes on to state that:

Boroughs should work with the relevant energy companies to establish the future gas and electricity infrastructure needs arising from the development of their area and address them in their local plans. Boroughs should cooperate across boundaries (including outside Greater London where appropriate) to identify and address potential capacity shortfalls in the wider energy network serving their area. Where land is required for infrastructure, boroughs should allocate suitable sites.”

This is a new initiative within the Mayor’s planning framework for London, and has clearly been influenced as a result of discussions between the Mayor and  London’s electricity distribution company, UK Power Networks, through the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working group. It will be interesting to see local authorities response to this proposed policy in their submissions to the FALP consultation.

Similar, but less detailed requirements are set out in terms of supporting London’s gas supply network (5.31F to 5.31H), which is distributed in London by two companies – National Grid and Southern Gas Networks.

The public consultation runs from 15 January to 10 April 2014

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