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Tag Archives: Westminster
June 2020: A consortium of five London boroughs, Barking and Dagenham, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, and Westminster have commissioned and recently published the following study: “Towards Net Zero Carbon Achieving greater carbon reductions on site: The role of carbon pricing“. This report seeks to review the current planning guidance from the GLA on Carbon Offsetting, and in particular the carbon offset price recommended in that guidance. This new study presents the rationale for this work as follows: “the current carbon offset price (£60-£95/tCO2) and requirement of a minimum 35% carbon reduction do not incentivise sufficient savings on site. This means that new buildings have substantially higher carbon emissions that they should.” The GLA’s 2018 guidance document sets out that “Currently, the GLA’s recommended price for offsetting carbon is £60 per tonne. This is a nationally recognised non-traded price of carbon and is also the Zero Carbon Hub price.” However, the guidance also recognises the need to review this offset price level and states “To assess whether this price continues to be appropriate the GLA commissioned AECOM to carry out a study of possible carbon offset prices, considering both published carbon prices and the cost of undertaking various carbon reduction projects in London… The new draft London Plan includes a new recommended carbon offset price of £95 per tonne which was tested as part of the viability assessment. This is intended to be the price (Local Planning Authorities) LPAs adopt, unless LPAs have set their own local price. The recommended GLA carbon offset price will be reviewed regularly.” (the new London Plan reference to £95/tonne is referenced as footnote 155 on page 384 of the London Plan 2020). Note – the option is available to boroughs to set their own offset price – but there needs to be some evidence to support any such price being set.
This new study by the London boroughs is an attempt to do this – and sets out the following: “We have undertaken extensive energy modelling on several typologies of buildings. Our calculations demonstrate that the decarbonisation of the electricity grid means that, for the same specifications, a greater improvement over Part L is achieved with no extra effort/cost (‘60% is the new 35%’). On this basis, and given the consensus on the need and benefit of a ‘fabric first’ approach and low carbon heat, our recommendations are:
- To incentivise on-site savings by adopting a high first tier price of £1,000/tCO2 for those easily avoidable and unnecessary residual emissions not met on-site, which fall short of a 60% improvement threshold (measured over Part L1A) for domestic and a 50% improvement threshold (measured over Part L2A) for non-domestic developments.
- To incentive PV with the introduction of a medium carbon price second tier of £300/tCO2.
- Finally, and only for residential applications for which it is easier to achieve this high level of performance than for nonresidential applications, we recommend a low carbon price
- third tier of £100/tCO2 as a positive signal. “
The report concludes with some further opportunities to ensure that zero carbon buildings take into account their full environmental impact.
January 2020: Since October 2016, Westminster City Council has been securing for carbon offsetting from new development through planning obligations to ensure that new development is acceptable in planning terms by fully addressing its associated carbon footprint.
In September 2019, Westminster City Council declared a Climate Emergency and set ambitious targets for the city to be carbon neutral by 2040. Carbon offset funds provide an important resource for helping to support Westminster’s carbon neutral ambitions. This guidance provides some background to Westminster’s carbon offset fund, outlining the process for collecting carbon offset funds and the City Council’s criteria for allocating funds to local carbon saving projects, in accordance with Greater London Authority (GLA) guidance and Westminster’s carbon reduction targets.
8 April 2016: The Evening Standard reports that “Hundreds more Londoners are buying electric cars as the scale of the capital’s air pollution problem is laid bare, official figures reveal today. They show a jump of more than 22 per cent in electric cars, including hybrids, registered in the city in the first three months of the year, nearly 800, compared with 650 in the first quarter of 2015. In the South-East, the rise was a huge 84.9 per cent, from 1,632 to 3,019.” EV sales data is available on the SMMT’s website – but not on a regional basis.
“The number of electric cars registered in London has jumped from 61 in the whole of 2010 to a total now over 5,000. More charging points are being installed under the Source London scheme.” Read the full story here.
Proposals to make London “the electric vehicle capital of Europe” were set out last summer by the Mayor in TfL’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Delivery Plan – which contains details on work to support the growth of EVs and EV charging infrastructure.
London was recently awarded £13 million to create ‘Neighbourhoods of the future’ prioritising ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in several boroughs across the capital:
- Proposals include over a dozen streets in Hackney going electric with charging infrastructure such as car-charging street lighting, while Harrow will develop a low emission zone offering parking and traffic priority to owners of plug-in vehicles
- Westminster Council already provides free parking for ULEVs and London’s proposal aims to deliver 70,000 ULEVs sold by 2020 and almost quarter of a million by 2025
To help private plug-in vehicle owners offset some of the upfront cost of the purchase and installation of a dedicated domestic recharging unit, the Government is running the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. New guidance on this scheme was issued by Government last week.
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:
27 January 2016: “District heating as heterotopia: Tracing the social contract through domestic energy infrastructure in Pimlico, London” – new research paper published in the latest issue of the journal Economic Anthropology (PDF here). A presentation on the paper can be seen here.
22 October 2015: The Guardian reports: “Hailed as the UK’s most sustainable historic building, the Regent Street office scheme, 7 Air Street, comes with an ecological roof incorporating flowers, vegetation, grasses and habitats for insects, birds and bats. The building has received BREEAM outstanding rating, the highest award possible from the industry body which judges best practice for sustainability in the built environment.
“It features solar panels, low energy air conditioning, LED lighting and a unique central energy centre, powered by fuel cell technology, which saves around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, while providing power to 500,000 sq ft of commercial and residential accommodation on Regent Street, including the Cafe Royal Hotel and the 20 Air Street office building.“
A previous post provides some additional details behind the fuel cell technology used.
November 2014: A major decentralised energy project in Victoria has moved a step further with the appointment of Clarke Energy to deliver a 3MWe Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine. A news release from Clarke Energy sets out that the mixed use Nova Victoria project, comprising residential, offices and commercial sites, will be connected to a district heating scheme where:
- GE’s Jenbacher units will run a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration to generate 2.96 megawatts (MW) for the area enough electricity to power more than 5,700 standard U.K. homes.
- Once operational in 2016, the CHP configuration will power the on-site Energy Centre, export electricity to the grid and provide heat to Nova residents and businesses as well as reduce carbon emissions.
- Based on 8,000 operating hours per year, the gas CHP is expected to offset more than 6,500 tons of carbon dioxide.
The Mayor’s planning decision from 2012 provides some additional background to the energy strategy of the development. Energy strategies submitted as part of the planning application for the development can be downloaded here and here.
24 June 2014: A series of interesting papers presented at the first UCL symposium on energy, people and society include a number of case studies focused in London, which include:
- District Heating in Pimlico: Analysing the social contract created through energy infrastructure available here.
- Capturing the Social Value of Retrofit at Scale (a case study in Poplar) available here
- Heritage and Environmental Values in Sustaining Heritage Domestic Buildings: A Residents’ Perspective (case study in Walthamstow) available here
- Greenroofs and Sustainability: Energy, Performance, Time (case studies across London) available here
- Urban Energy Landscapes available here
April 2014: On Wednesday 2nd April 2014 the Greater London Authority hosted a workshop focussing on the Business Case and Business Planning for Decentralised Energy projects. The event included an introduction from Matthew Pencharz – Senior Advisor, Environment and Energy (GLA), case studies and an open discussion amongst all attendees. The workshop hosted speakers from the London Borough of Enfield, Westminster City Council, Arup and the GLA. Attendees included energy consultants, engineers and local authorities.
Materials presented by the speakers can be downloaded using the following links:
Peter North, Greater London Authority
Robert Tudway Greater London Authority
Bruce Laidlaw, Arup
Jeff Laidler, London Borough of Enfield
Tim Starley-Grainger, Westminster City Council
March 2014: The London Assembly Environment Committee held the first of two oral evidence sessions on progress made by the GLA’s energy and climate programmes. The first of these sessions was held on 6 February and focussed on the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW. Evidence was provided by representatives from a number of organisations, including EDF Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Hillingdon Borough Council and the Mayor’s Housing Advisor. The full transcript can be accessed here – and a webcast can also be viewed here. Points of interest raised during the debate included:
- The RE:NEW programme is awaiting confirmation they they have been successful in their application to the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for £2.6m to put in place a support team over a three year period starting from April 2014 (the RE:NEW programme support team is currently operated for the GLA by Capita).
- RE:NEW is currently working with Greenwich, Havering, Newham and Westminster, Hyde Housing and Peabody Gallions developing “bigger projects that would be more attractive in terms of bringing in Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding“.
- Borough responses suggested that RE:NEW was “not very hands-on with project development.” RE:NEW is keen to find out what boroughs are doing but “there is very little support there for boroughs in terms of developing projects and overcoming planning issues.“
- RE:NEW should be instead be focussing on what the GLA could do to “enhance [borough activities] even further if it wants to deliver ambitious carbon reduction targets“
- Further criticism was targeted at the RE:NEW programme stating that the funding resource was mainly going to Capita : “We see that the resources are actually on those people, basically, for the Capita resource. Local authorities are not really getting the benefit of that on the whole“.
- An often confusing debate takes place on how many homes were retrofitted through the RE:NEW programme and how many homes were insulated across London in total. A number of 400,000 homes is quoted by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor during the session. Though not explained, this number is most likely made up of the following: 327,00 treated through the Government’s CERT programme over the period April 2008 – December 2012 (see cell V35 of EST CERT data here), and 70,000 homes visited by the RE:NEW team and provided with ‘easy measures’ over the period July 2011-December 2012 (see MQ here for details). For more on this, see earlier post here.
- RE:NEW Phase 3 has a target of retrofitting 175,000 homes.
Just ahead of the evidence session – somewhat belatedly – the Mayor published the full evaluation report of the main RE:NEW roll-out phase which ran from July 2011-May 2012 (a summary report had previously been issued – details here). A second oral evidence session will take place on 26 March, focusing on the Mayor’s decentralised energy programmes, with the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, in attendance.
November 2013: The Guardian highlighted in a recent story that the London HQ of Al Gore’s business is to be based in a new office development on Regent Street which has included a wide array of onsite energy measures installed including a gas-powered fuel cell.
“Climate campaigner and former US vice-president Gore said the £400m Quadrant 3 redevelopment showed a “sophisticated commitment to sustainability”. The headquarters of his sustainable investment company, Generation Investment Management, will be sited in the new buildings.
“The cell was developed by US company FuelCell Energy. It will emit 38% less carbon dioxide than using electricity from the grid and heat from gas-fired boilers, according to the crown estate, which says 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved per year. Unlike fossil-fuel-burning power plants, the fuel cell produces power with virtually no nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SOx) or particulate matter (PM) pollution.
The new plant forms part of the central energy system that serves 500,000 sq ft of offices, shops, flats, restaurants and hotels in the Quadrant development.” Read the full Guardian story here.
Further detail on the installation of the fuel cell can be read here – which has been undertaken by Edinburgh based Logan Energy. The Quadrant 3 development has a number of other onsite energy measures installed (including a Combined Cooling Heat & Power plant, thermal stores and photovoltaics – see diagram below), as set out in the property brochure.
Another new London development to include fuel cell technology is that on 20 Fenchurch Street (more commonly known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building) which has installed a 300 kWe fuel cell, details of which can be read here and here.
June 2013: Analysis by consultancy WSP in their report – ‘Solar Success: Space Not Cash the Key for Solar’ reflects previous posts by Energy for London (see here and here), highlighting London’s poor progress when compared to other regions in relation to the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.
The conclusions summarise the Feed in Tariff Installation report data, produced by energy regulator Ofgem, highlighting local authority installations per 10,000 households.
The analysis shows that London boroughs make up 23 of the 25 lowest ranking local authorities for solar installations and the entire bottom 10 in the national league table. Westminster, Tower Hamlets, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Southwark are all found in the bottom five.
The report points out that: “Even The Orkneys at 232/10,000 houses comes 55th out of 760 on installation rates – higher than every local authority in Surrey, Kent and London – areas which receive much more sun than Scotland. To get most bang for buck, incentives should encourage the sunniest areas to get more panels than the furthest north. This, however, isn’t the case – the reality of politics over good green policies.”
Reasons for London’s limited success with PV put forward include: “While we might think that cities should be happy hunting grounds for solar sales, in reality houses in towns are smaller, their roofs are more likely to be obscured and there’s also less owner occupation.”