Is London ready for the zero carbon standard?

From 1 October 2016, all new major residential developments in London are required to achieve a reduction of 100% in CO2 emissions beyond current Building Regulation Part L targets.

Planning applications received on or after 1st October 2016 are required to demonstrate how the proposals will:

  • Adhere to the ‘zero carbon’ standard – London Plan Policy 5.2 and Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG);
  • Deliver at least a 35% reduction in regulated Carbon Dioxide emissions beyond Part L1a on site;
  • Offset all residual carbon dioxide emissions from regulated energy consumption through a cash contribution to the appropriate borough to ensure carbon dioxide savings elsewhere.

London Plan Policy 5.2 sets a ‘zero carbon’ target for residential development. This target was intended to align with the then expected introduction of ‘zero carbon homes’ through Part L of the Building Regulations. However, the Government’s Housing Standards Review announced (July 2015);

‘That it does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon allowable solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review’.

The Mayor of London has retained the carbon dioxide emission reduction targets for domestic buildings and will target ‘zero carbon’ non-domestic building from 2019. The Mayor’s Housing Standard’s Viability Assessment assumed a carbon off-set price of £60 per tonne of carbon dioxide for a period of 30 years (equal to £1800 per tonne CO2 offset).

There are a number of questions surrounding the introduction of this ‘zero carbon’ target, such as:

  • How onerous is this target going to be for developers?
  • Where is the money going to be spent within the boroughs?
  • Who will regulate this process and the allocation of funds? Will developer have a say?
  • Will this generate more demand for CHP and in turn will this lead to overheating issue for apartment block in the city?

Element Sustainability are experienced in delivering low and zero carbon energy strategies. Please use the link to access our consultancy and service pages: Consultancy and Services

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