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Tag Archives: Planning
3 October 2016: London’s Zero Carbon Homes planning policy officially started on the 1st of October. Attending a recent industry workshop around the new ZCH rules – it’s clear that many organisations involved in the sector are still not quite aware of what this this all means. Hence answers to some of the most frequently asked questions raised follow below.
- What exactly started on 1 October 2016?
All new planning applications in London for residential projects above 10 units will now need to provide an energy assessment which will set out how the development will achieve a zero carbon status.
- When was this first announced?
There have been no announcements by the GLA that this new ZCH policy was going to commence from 1 October. Instead, information has largely had to be gleaned from new planning documentation and a number of recent responses by the Mayor to questions. The new policy and its implications were first picked up in a post on the Energy for London website here, following the publication of a new GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document on Housing.
- Where is detail behind this policy set out?
Three GLA planning documents set out the new policy requirements to some extent: they are the SPG on Sustainable Design and Construction; the SPG on Housing and a GLA Preparing Energy Assessment guidance paper.
- Erm…anything shorter..?!
4 July 2016: Included in this month’s Mayor’s Questions was a series of useful queries around an announcement made earlier this year that the GLA would introduce a Zero Carbon Homes planning policy from 1 October 2016 for all new major housing developments. London’s plans to g0-ahead with a zero carbon homes policy runs counter to that of national government, where 10 years of work to introduce a 2016 zero carbon policy was scrapped by the Chancellor in his Summer Budget 2015, an announcement which was widely condemned by the building industry. A recent (unsuccessful) attempt to overturn this decision, in the passage of the Housing and Planning Bill (see here), specifically cited London’s stance as evidence of why the policy should be kept (see column 919 of the House of Lords debate – and reference to the GLA’s policy in House of Commons research paper here). The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee also stated in their recent Home Energy Efficiency report that the “decision damaged confidence in the low carbon economy and will lock in the requirement for future wide-scale energy efficiency measures and costly retrofits. We recommend that the Government reinstates the zero carbon homes policy or sets out a similar policy that will ensure that new homes generate no net carbon emissions.”
The Mayor’s responses clarified that:
- Funds raised through the London zero carbon homes offset fund need to be ring-fenced by local councils
- It’s not clear at the moment how much funding will be raised for low carbon projects through the offset funds, but money has already been collected by early adopters of the policy
- That the zero carbon policy will be extended to non-residential buildings from 2019
- It’s also not clear how many zero carbon homes will be built by 2020.
The GLA has also approved research work of the various approaches that could be taken by local authorities to direct these offset funds to. The outline of this research project states that:
‘London Plan policy 5.2 sets out that where the target percentage improvements in carbon dioxide emissions beyond Part L of the Building Regulations cannot be met on-site, any short fall should be provided off-site or through cash in lieu contribution to the relevant borough. This is to be ring fenced to secure delivery of carbon dioxide savings elsewhere.
Existing London Plan policy was prepared in expectation of the establishment of a national zero carbon homes and associated ‘allowable solutions’ framework which the national government is no longer progressing. As such, for the short to medium term it is likely that carbon offset funds established by borough’s will remain the only manner for securing carbon offset funding where development is unable to viably or feasibly meet carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets on-site. As such there is a need to gain a more detailed understanding of the diversity of approaches London boroughs are currently taking to carbon offsetting in order to best inform any future GLA actions in this policy area. This work forms the first stage of the information-gathering and data analysis of this process. “
It’s great to see London leading in this area to ensure that – as the Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee has recently said – we are “building houses that are fit for the future. We have the technology and building techniques to construct houses that generate their own power and hardly need heating. We owe it to future generations to use them.”
April 2016: Somewhat hidden away on the GLA website (as most things are at the moment…) is a new supplementary planning guidance (SPG) on housing, published a few weeks ago. A detailed history on the lengthy consultation process behind this SPG and its relationship to the London Plan and other key GLA documents is helpfully set out at the designingbuildings wiki, which is worth checking.
The SPG includes a series of housing ‘Standards’ which stem from the policies contained in the London Plan’s Climate Change chapter, with the SPG providing further specific guidance on implementing these policies. Standard 35 is of particular importance, as it is concerned with the London’s Plan requirement for zero carbon development: this issue has had a long and complex history – with the SPG’s confirming that new housing development in London will need to be zero carbon from October 2016 is significant – which is covered in further detail in another post here.
The SPG also refers to action to mitigate ‘overheating’ in new homes in Standard 36 (linked to Policy 5.9 of the London Plan) stating that new “housing needs to be designed for the climate it will experience over its life, taking into account predicted climate change, the potential for summer heat waves, London’s urban heat island effect and the limits of thermal comfort of future residents”.
The GLA’s Preparing Energy Assessments guidance document has also been expanded and updated in line with these changes in the Housing SPG (with a new section 5 entitled ‘Implementation of zero carbon homes (from 1 October 2016)’ added) and is available to download here (or download from this website here).
April 2016: As highlighted in an earlier post – the GLA have just issued new London Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and Energy Planning Guidance which sets out the carbon targets for new residential developments in the capital following the government’s announcement last year to scrap its zero carbon homes policy.
Full detail follows below – but a helpful summary is provided in the GLAs new Energy Assessment Planning Guidance (page 12) on the key takeaway – new carbon targets:
• Stage 1 schemes received by the Mayor up until 30 September 2016 – 35% below Part L 2013 for both residential and commercial development.
• Stage 1 schemes received by the Mayor on or after the 1st October 2016– Zero carbon (as defined in section 5.3 of this guidance) for residential development and 35% below Part L 2013 for commercial development
Over the past few months, the Mayor has referred to keeping London’s zero carbon homes policy through a number of responses to Mayoral Questions (see references below). This new Housing SPG is however the first official GLA document which confirms the process for how the zero carbon policy is to be implemented. The full text from the SPG on Zero Carbon Homes follows below – with some accompanying analysis:
October 2015: The GLA held a London Energy Plan: Heat Supply workshop on the 25th of September – the slides for which have just become available and can be downloaded here. The workshop included presentations from the GLA on their forthcoming Energy Masterplan for London; from Camden Council on their decentralised energy plans; and from consultancy Element Energy on the work they are undertaking for the GLA through the development of a heat plan model.
26 October 2015: Plans for the development of the London Riverside Opportunity Area have been progressing for some years now (see post here). Following a consultation earlier this year, final plans were adopted by the Mayor of London on 23 September 2015 as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to the London Plan and published online and launched at a public event at the NLA on 22 October 2015.
London Riverside is one for 4 Opportunity Areas (OA) covering a wide scale development in the East of London comprising London Bridge, Canada Water, Deptford Creek/Greenwich Riverside, Isle of Dogs, Lower Lee Valley, Upper Lee Valley, Ilford, Greenwich Peninsula, Charlton Riverside, Woolwich, London Riverside, Bexley Riverside and Abbey Wood and Thamesmead. The planning frameworks across they areas are at at different stages of development: further information on them can be found here.
The London Riverside OA covers some 2,500 hectares encompassing parts of Barking and Dagenham and Havering, adjoining the borough boundary with Newham in the west, and forms part of the Thames Gateway growth area.
The planning framework has always discussed proposals for an area wide district heating initiative and the revised set of Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) documents includes a ‘Decentralised Energy‘ chapter which identifies “opportunities for decentralised energy production and the development of a satellite district-heating networks across the OA that interconnect over time to supply locally produced low to zero carbon energy“.
The chapter also captures the significant amount of work going on in relation to decentralised energy across the region: “Havering Council, with the support of the DECC and the GLA has produced an Energy Masterplan focussing on a Rainham and Beam Park district heat network delivering low carbon heat. It also sets out therole of satellite district-heat networks across theopportunity area that could interconnect over timeto supply locally produced low to zero carbon andwaste energy sources. The Rainham and Beam Park Energy Masterplan should be taken into consideration alongside this framework.”
There are number of planned and existing decentralised energy schemes within the London Riverside area (as shown in graphic above) which the planning document considers as part of the area’s energy strategy, .
September 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
data gathered through the Mayor’s Business Energy Challenge; the impact on the London Plan carbon targets as a result of the government scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes policy (and again) and again – and one more time; encouraging renewable energy investments through the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA); a discussion around potential winter electricity ‘blackouts’; impact of the government’s proposals to change the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) on the Mayor’s retrofit programmes – and again; lobbying to reduce business rates to district heating – and again; whether the Mayor will attend COP21 in Paris this December; the Clean Bus Summit recently held in London; fuel economy of the New Routemaster bus (and again, and again); a dossier of problems associated with the New Routemaster; GLA and boroughs discussions on coordinating fuel poverty responses across London; the roll out of electric vehicles in London; and supporting zero emission taxi fleets.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
An earlier consultation document issued by the council sets out that “Within the Heart of Harrow, a district-wide combined heat and power network is promoted. There are already specific proposals to deliver district energy on a number of our major sites, but no masterplanning has yet been undertaken to establish the feasibility of a wider network. Neither has additional feasibility work been undertaken to develop business cases for individual schemes.Our strategy is to pursue district energy opportunities within the Heart of Harrow area, both on our own redevelopment sites and on other major development schemes. We will be preparing an energy master plan and, where appropriate,additional feasibility studies to map the potential district energy programme for the Heart of Harrow in more detail” – which must be what the consultant for this work must be undertaking.
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.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
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.
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.
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‘.