Tag Archives: Planning

Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

Mayoral involvement with the Local Government Climate Roadmap; organisations operating at the London Sustainable Industries Park; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon London projects; whether Energy Performance Certificate or Green Deal assessments will be provided for homes that go through the RE:NEW programme; monitoring high energy consuming buildings in London; reductions in forecasted projections of CO2 savings in Mayor’s energy supply programme; Transport for London’s (TfL) Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy suppliers; visit by Mayor’s energy advisor to Camden’s biomethane refuelling station; correspondence with DCLG on the Mayor being able to set London specific energy efficiency targets in planning rules for new development; meetings with DECC over encouraging the use of solar PV on GLA land and building; new district heating network using heat from Greenwich Power Station; the low take up of ECO energy efficiency programme in London; connecting Whitehall District Heating Scheme to Pimlico District Heating Undertaking;  the Mayor’s response to a recent London Solar Energy report by Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones; future TfL electricity costs; whether the Mayor responded to the Government’s recent solar PV consultation; concerns over government changes to the ECO as raised by the Mayor; funding for the next round of the RE:NEW programme; energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector; monies received by the Green Bus Fund; work being undertaken to assess the economic impact to London as a result of climate change; attendance at the World Mayors Summit of Climate Change; planning offset funds; contract awarded for management of the RE:NEW programme; and if the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group has considered solar PV.

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How climate adaptation in cities creates a resilient place for business

10 July 2014: A new study by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)  reporting on how the “majority of the world’s major cities have disclosed that climate change presents a physical risk to the businesses operating in their cities.”

The press release sets out that CDP has “examined data from 50 cities where 78 companies have reported that they expect climate change to have a physical effect,” and the study illustrates action taken through a number of city case studies, including one looking at how London uses its planning powers.

The case study states that the GLA provides “property developers with consultancy support to implement energy policies”. However, what actually happens is that expert consultancy support is brought into the GLA to provide guidance to planning officers to ensure that developers are complying with climate mitigation policies set out in London’s spatial planning strategy – the London Plan. This is fully explained in a reference actually cited in the CDP report – which links to a GLA approval document providing background details for this consultancy spend, which sets out that:

  • The GLA have procured energy engineering consultancy support from 1st April 2014 to 30th March 2018, with a value of up to £440,000.
  • This technical support has helped secure CO2 emissions reductions of 36% more than 2010 Building Regulations requirements for developments
  • This support helps provide officers with an assessment of complex energy systems such as Combined heat and power systems, district heating network specifications, the use of heat pumps etc.

Analysis published at the end of last month by the GLA provides some detailed information on how this consultancy support has helped secure significant levels of low carbon investment in new London developments. Full details here.

Data on climate adaptation measures installed in new London development are less well documented. A recent Mayoral Question (MQ) set out an estimate on the number of green roofs installed in London. A further related MQ touch upon the Mayor’s plan to develop an interactive map on green roofs in London.

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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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We are now at DEfLon 1…

March 2014: A paper presented at February’s GLA’s Investment & Performance Board sets out the Environment Team’s priorities for this year (2014/12). Amongst the range of initiatives being taken forward are a number targeted on energy:

  • Spatial energy masterplan - to identify where and what type of energy infrastructure is required to close the energy gap and provide London with a resilient and competitive energy system.
  • Decentralise energy for London – the DEfLon programme will focus on creating a pipeline of decentralised energy projects and overcoming market barriers to give access to the retail electricity market
  • Biodiesel from used cooking oil – to help decarbonise London’s bus fleet by using biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO) or other waste products.
  • Mayor’s Business Energy Challenge – advice and awards programme to support businesses saving money through improving energy efficiency.

The issue of a new ‘spatial energy masterplan’ for London is particularly interesting, and something discussed at in an earlier investment board meeting as part of the GLA’s work on developing the capital’s first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan.

The newly name DEfLon programme is likely to be a successor to the existing DEPDU support team which itself followed on from DEMaP, highlighting the importance of bringing forward decentralised energy projects in the capital.

A second paper presented to the Board provides detail on funding commitments for the Environment team. Amongst these is mention of £10k to continue updating the London Heat Map which also – interestingly – mentions that “The Heat Map has enabled £133m investment in on-site heat networks alone in 2012-13“.

The biodiesel report will most likely build on the findings of a study commissioned by the GLA in 2013 ‘The market for biodiesel production from used cooking oils and fats, oils and greases in London‘.

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Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

January 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the Mayor’s meetings with energy ministers; KPIs under the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; establishing a London Energy Cooperative; ECO funding in London; the number of energy suppliers signed up to the Mayor’s MoU; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution’s Cold Homes Week; Kew Gardens decentralised energy scheme; London avoiding the ‘capacity crunch‘; solar installations on GLA buildings; the underheating of Londoners’ homes; the RE:NEW programme energy efficiency targets; the Mayor’s concerns over Government ‘Allowable Solutions‘ proposals; insulation industry jobs; Excess Winter Deaths; insulation projects stalled under ECO; the stalled Affinity Sutton insulation project; RE:NEW targets; retrofitting and planning restrictions; renewable energy installations on the GLA estate; GLA funding to Capita to manage the RE:NEW programme; British Gas funding to ECO; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group; LED streetlighting projects; CO2 savings achieved under RE:NEW; delayed CO2 savings under RE:NEW; the Climate Change Leaders for a Low Carbon London fuel poverty project; planning CO2 target requirements; meetings with DCLG; biofuel and London buses; GLA Environment Team budgets over next two years; Mayor’s application to the Government’s Green Deal Communities Fund; and tendering for License Lite services.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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GLA extends funding for energy advice on planning assessments

January 2014: Welcome news that the GLA Investment Board has approved to continue funding for technical consultancy support reviewing energy statements submitted to the Mayor as part of planning submissions. Full details are given in a paper presented at the Board’s latest meeting (16 January), which states:

The London Plan requires developers to submit an energy strategy demonstrating how CO2 emissions reductions from major developments will be achieved against targets set in policy 5.2 of the London Plan. Each strategy is assessed by the GLA’s in-house energy planning officer supported by consultants who provide up to 4 days per week specialist energy engineering advice. The current energy engineering consultancy support contract began on 20th May 2013 and expires 31st March 2014. To provide ongoing consultancy support, approval is sought to procure consultancy services via a competitive tendering exercise for the period 1st April 2014 to 30th March 2018 with a value of up to £440,000.

Further information on the GLA energy statement assessment process here. The latest review of the implementation of the energy policies of the London Plan indicate the significant impact these are having in helping drive low carbon developments in London. These requirements are however currently under threat as a result of the proposals from the DCLG – more of which here.

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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 Plan- 5.4a – 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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Mayor raises concerns over CLG Allowable Solutions proposals

January 2014: The Mayor has recently posted online his response to the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) Allowable Solutions (AS) consultation, released last year. Allowable Solutions are central to the achievement of the Government’s commitment to delivering zero carbon homes by 2016, and have been under discussion for several years now, with significant delays in any Ministerial decisions being made (too much to go into here – see articles here and here) . The Zero Carbon Hub have also led on much of the detailed development behind the potential measures that could be used.

The Mayor raises a number of concerns to Government over their proposals, including:

  • London is less likely to benefit from them than other parts of the country, because London’s building stock and the complex logistics of working in London make it more expensive to install both retrofit and energy supply measures.
  • The current proposals are likely to mean that AS in London are uncompetitive. In combination with proposals under the Housing Standards Review, there is significant risk that the well established plans in London to support the deployment of decentralised energy and heat networks through the planning system will be undermined.
  • It is unlikely that district heating will be funded under AS without revisions to the proposals.The development of decentralised heat and power generation and district heating forms an integral part of London’s and other cities’ contribution to the delivery of Government’s heat strategy. It appears to be an ambition for AS that they should support district heating and it might often make sense for a developer to contribute to a district heating network if his/her future developments could in turn receive low carbon affordable heat from that network. However, except perhaps if the central fund route were the sole option, it is difficult to see how the proposed options would support district heating.

London boroughs are already making significant headway in establishing their own allowable solution mechanisms as a consequence of the Government’s delay in setting out their own policy – see details of  Islington’s Carbon Offset Fund here.

See article in Building magazine also detailing the Mayor’s response.

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An Energy Master Plan for London?

December 2013: The Mayor announced last week that he has commissioned work to “create the capital’s first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan”, which will make a high level assessment of the full range of infrastructure delivery in the city, looking at how it is managed currently and what could be improved. The scope of the plan will cover public transport, roads, energy, water, sewerage, waste, broadband and green infrastructure

As part of this work, a Call for Evidence has been issued setting out five ‘core questions’ (see link for details), open to all to respond to, with a deadline for submissions of 24 January 2014.

The Mayor’s Infrastructure Group has been leading on the development of the plan, and their December 2013 meeting set out a working paper with some further detail on what the plan will consider, including the consideration of climate change and future energy demands on London. Included in this paper are a number of important proposals including mention of developing a London-wide Energy Master Plan and a GLA-led body delivering Green Infrastructure:

  • “To address these issues, and address the implications of climate change, a range of recommendations are being proposed. All need further explorations in terms of feasibility and value for money, but provide a starting point for determining how London may need to respond to its infrastructure needs. The list of draft proposals to date is attached at Annex A; they include:   Develop an Energy Master Plan for London, based on favoured approach of either continued nationally led centralised provision, or a decentralised model based on local energy production from a range of low and zero carbon energy sources. (Favoured approach to be set out in the Infrastructure Investment Plan for London).
  • Create a GLA-led delivery body to deliver green infrastructure projects to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the drainage system. Potentially to be funded from the water companies and developers.”

Potential  concerns over future stresses to London’s electricity system led to the Mayor writing recently to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy, and the formation of the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group.

A strategic outlook on London’s future energy needs (both power and heat) is an absolute requirement of any future London infrastructure plan: much of London’s electricity distribution assets are in need of replacement, London’s population is set to grow significantly to 2020 and beyond, and  the the Mayor’s own target for London to source 25% of its energy needs from decentralised energy will require a significant shift to the introduction of low carbon, localised generation capacity being introduced onto London’s electricity network.

The Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan for London will be produced in two stages – an interim report (inviting comment) in February 2014 and a final report in Summer 2014.

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Mayor to battle with CLG over London energy and planning policies?

December 2013:  In response to a series of Mayoral Questions (here, here and here) the Mayor has now posted his submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) controversial (see here,  here, here and here)  Housing Standards Review report and consultation.

The MQ responses highlight that the Mayor has written to CLG’s Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, expressing concerns with proposals for a National Standards set which could limit the GLA’s ability to apply planning policy on housing design and space standards as well as energy standards in new housing“.

The Mayor has also asked Mr Pickles to meet in order “to discuss these proposals, and requested the opportunity to make further comments, once CLG reaches a clearer position on the proposals”.

The Mayor’s submission document sets out that:

  • London developments are already demonstrating that the carbon compliance level could be more stretching without undermining viability.
  • London’s ‘interim’ standards should be retained and continue to be applied in accordance with the London Plan energy hierarchy
  • Disputing the Housing Standards Review view that Government “does not believe that an interim level would be helpful to developers and is not minded therefore to set one in a nationally described standard”, the Mayor responds    On the contrary, the setting-out of a clear strategy and requirements over time in the London Plan, including ‘interim’ targets between Building Regulations and Zero Carbon has effectively created market certainty, allowing developers to innovate and to bring down costs, in a manner that serves government’s intentions from 2016.
  • That the solutions developers are obligated to consider under the London Plan ‘energy hierarchy’ do not lead to technological blind alleys. On the contrary, heat networks are fuel and technology flexible. Rather than creating ‘blind alleys’ they make the transition to zero carbon sources of heat easier” and that
  • In the absence of the [London Plan's] approach” the Government’s proposed changes would  undermine a key tenet of DECC’s Heat Strategy for cities.

The submission importantly states that: CLG have agreed to meet with GLA officers to discuss interim arrangements which allow the Mayor to maintain London Plan 2013-2016 carbon reduction targets”

A recent assessment of the energy policies under the London Plan – undertaken and published by the GLA – sets out that a significant level of energy-related commitments have been secured including:

  • Equivalent of circa £32m investment secured through energy efficiency measures alone.
  • Circa £20 million of investment in new CHP plant able to produce 29MW of electricity and heat.
  • Circa £133 million of investment in communal heat network infrastructure for ~ 53,000 dwellings
  • Circa 55 permanent jobs created in maintaining heat network infrastructure and associated energy supply plant. Additional jobs will also be created in the supply chain

The House of Commons Environment Audit Committee undertook their own review of the Housing Standards Review document, publishing their results on 20 November. The report echoes the Mayor’s sentiments stating:

  • That local choice in favour of practical, sustainable local solutions will be radically curtailed and replaced with a lowest-common-denominator national standard
  • That the proposed replacement for CSH standards on energy and carbon emissions, the 2016 zero carbon homes standard, has been significantly diluted

and goes further [para 33]:

  • The specifications around the zero carbon homes target have been watered down to such an extent that the proposed standards in Building Regulations now fall some way short of the higher levels of the CSH.
  • There is no guarantee that further dilution will not occur in the run-up to the implementation of zero carbon homes in 2016.
  • DCLG must maintain CSH energy assessments as a tool for local authorities to lever in renewable energy until Building Regulations deliver genuinely zero carbon homes, which was the original target and is defined by CSH level 6.

There’s no information over whether the Mayor has met with Mr Pickles as yet – and CLG have as yet not indicated when they are to finalise and publish their conclusions to the Housing Standard Review’s proposals. However it’s clear that the London Plan’s energy and climate policies have – and are continuing to – create a major shift in the development of more energy efficient buildings in London. Developers, architects and sustainability experts are delivering some of the most innovative green buildings in the world here in London as a consequence of the London Plan, and hence it would be a huge surprise if the Mayor allowed his successful planning policies to be diluted by the Government’s latest – and hugely confused – zero carbon buildings proposals.

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Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

November 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the price of Londoner’s gas bills; the uptake of the Green Deal in London; details of schools going through the RE:FIT Energy Efficiency Programme; the recent GLA-commissioned study looking at London’s Zero Carbon Energy ResourceLondon Energy Costs; the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) Loan to Croydon; work undertaken on Energy Efficiency guidance to SMEs; buildings adopting the GLA Sustainable Design and Construction Standards; whether the Mayor had sent a copy of the GLA’s  ’Energy Planning: Monitoring the implementation of London Plan energy policies in 2012‘ research to CLG;  the Mayor’s response to a recent Environment Audit Committee recommendation that local authorities should have a statutory duty to produce low-carbon plans for their area; the GLA’s response to CLG’s Allowable Solutions consultation; Mayoral concern over CLG’s Housing Standards Review consultation; organisations working alongside the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; events proposed around the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; London’s children and fuel poverty; evaluation of the Know Your Rights Campaign; the Mayor’s support for nuclear; the Mayor’s response to former PM John Major’s comments on households having to choose between heating or eating; an update report on the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s response to concerns that the ECO is to be scrapped; the Mayor’s strategy for delivering the ECO and Green Deal in London; whether the Mayor has been in contact with CLG over the Housing Standards Review consultation.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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GLA district energy research commissioned

November 2013: The GLA have commissioned research into how district heating systems can work successfully in new developments as energy efficiency requirements continue to increase. The approval document sets out that:

“With the improving standards for insulation and air tightness to retain heat within developments, it is important that communal heating systems within buildings are designed so that they do not contribute towards buildings overheating.

“It is therefore proposed to procure consultants to carry out a study into how communal heating systems, specifically in residential schemes, implemented as a result of policy can be designed to avoid overheating.”

This issue of district heating and overheating was briefly touched upon in research undertaken by AECOM for the Department of Communities in 2012.

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