The London Plan 2021 was formally published today (2nd March 2021) more than three years after the first draft. The document sets out how London will develop over the next 20 – 25 years and is the Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London.
Moving forward, Local Plans prepared by the individual London Boroughs must be in ‘general conformity’ with the policies set out in the London Plan, although, as many will have already experienced, multiple policies within the London Plan 2021 have had to be considered in planning applications before the formal publication today.
The published plan, and the draft versions before it, have introduced several new or enhanced requirements around sustainability. These include:
Whole Life Carbon Assessment
Policy S12 requires that a Whole life Carbon Assessment be prepared for all referable developments. The assessment must quantify whole life carbon impacts at planning, design and as built stage, investigating measures to reduce carbon at all life stages. It will require more attention to materials, products and construction processes, whilst also considering impacts on future operations and end of life/deconstruction.
Circular Economy Statement
Development of a Circular Economy Statement is now mandatory for all Major developments through ‘Policy SI 7 Reducing waste and supporting the circular economy’ which aims to ensure that circular economy principles are embedded into the design of the new developments.
A Circular Economy Statement involves producing a report which must evidence the following:
- Methods for reducing material use.
- How the development will maximise secondary material use.
- How the design enables disassembly and reuse of materials at the end of life stage.
- Minimising construction waste and supporting reuse and recycling on-site or through sharing facilities and where unwanted building material can be used by others.
The report requires relevant targets to be set and commitments made with associated implementation plans. An update is required at completion to report achievement against the targets.
Urban Greening Factor and Biodiversity Net Gain
Policy G5 introduces the requirement to calculate the Urban Greening Factor (UGF) of new developments and recommends a target score for predominantly residential (0.4) and predominantly commercial (0.3) schemes. The UGF is currently only applied to major applications, but the intention is for it to be applied to developments below this threshold as individual Borough Local Plans come forward.
Policy G6 is also updated to state that ‘development proposals should manage impacts on biodiversity and aim to secure net biodiversity gain…’. Guidance on how BNG applies in London will be set out by the Mayor in due course. This is in line with the previous update of Section 15 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which changed from requiring ‘no net loss’ to ‘providing net gain’.
There also continues to be a greater emphasis on Green Infrastructure, how it is a vital and integral part of the design process and how it should be maximised in order to deliver the multiple benefits it brings in terms of ecosystem services, reducing the urban heat island effect and its importance for health and wellbeing of Londoners, particularly in the more densely developed areas.
Greengage have been working with existing clients on numerous projects where these requirements have already been requested with planning submissions. If you would like to know more about any of the above, please get in touch.