Business as Usual for Energy Statements in London?

Following last month’s announcement from Eric Pickles on the adoption of the Deregulation Bill confusion has reigned in the development community on how the change in energy policy will impact schemes submitting for a planning application. Hot off the press from the GLA last week is an update to their guidance on energy assessments for planning, which has included guidance on how the GLA are tackling the Deregulation Bill and its implications for development in London.

The key section on how the London Plan interacts with the Deregulation Bill is shown below with emphasis from Greengage:

6.1 On 25 March 2015, the Government confirmed its policy to limit local energy requirements and continue to support low carbon infrastructure. The Mayor has considered the Government’s intentions regarding energy performance standards and its support for energy infrastructure and considers his energy targets within his energy hierarchy to be in line with this approach. It encourages developers to make carbon savings on-site, firstly through demand reduction. These reductions are in line with the Government’s preferred maximum energy requirement (19 per cent reduction beyond Part L 2013 (Code 4) equivalent). The remaining energy savings are met through low carbon infrastructure, either on-site or off-site.

6.2 The Mayor has also commissioned a viability study as part of his Minor Alterations to the London Plan which confirms that current and future London Plan targets are viable for development in London. The targets in the London Plan will therefore continue to be applied in line with the energy hierarchy, across both residential and non-domestic development until the implementation of zero carbon policies in 2016.

6.3 The Government has consulted on its approach to Allowable Solutions in relation to ‘zero carbon homes’. However, there is still uncertainty over the requirements to meet the ‘zero carbon’ definition. In the interim boroughs are encouraged to set up their own funds in accordance with the guidance outlined in the Sustainable, Design and Construction SPG, which would apply to both residential and non-residential development. Appendix 4 contains further information on offsetting to address Policy 5.2E in the London Plan.

The questions that remain for development in London are:

  • What standards will be required for development post-2016?
  • Will development projects be delayed until late 2016 to avoid the London Plan requirements?
  • Will the Deregulation Bill stall the creation of London Borough-backed funds to deliver emission savings?