London big build cutting carbon by third

Big development projects in the capital are going well beyond the energy efficiency measures required of them by building regulations, according to City Hall.

A study of planning applications referred to the Mayor’s office – which includes all major developments – shows that developers are taking significant steps to making the capital’s built environment more sustainable.

The report, commissioned by the Greater London Authority and carried out by London South Bank University, shows that the London Plan has been an effective tool in encouraging developers to consider carbon.

Figures from the report suggest that in 2006 developments had cut emissions by 29% above what is required by regulations, and that that figure has now risen to 34% by the middle of 2009.

City Hall is using the report as evidence to support its tougher proposed standards for 2010-13 included in the Mayor’s draft London Plan, which sets increased targets for carbon reductions of 44% for new developments between 2010-2013.

The report took a sample of half of all planning applications which are referred to the Mayor show that carbon savings have been made through energy efficiency measures such as passive heating and lighting, the use of low carbon energy from combined heat and power units and on-site renewable energy.

It showed that flexibility has been crucial in enabling developers to offer the greater carbon savings using the most suitable measures for their site.

Some developments have managed to contribute well over 30% of savings from on-site renewables, whilst others have contributed much less from these sources, making savings instead through other aspects of the development such as gas fired combined heart and power units, which are more appropriate for their site.

The draft replacement London Plan looks to strengthen this flexibility further to ensure that maximum carbon savings are secured from a range of energy efficiency and decentralised energy options and the most appropriate, effective methods for the site.

It seeks to ensure that where carbon reduction targets cannot be met through on site measures and where it is clearly demonstrated that they cannot be, any shortfall to make up the 44% can be provided either off site or through an equivalent financial contribution to the relevant borough, to be ring fenced for carbon saving projects.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson said: “With the majority of London’s carbon emissions coming from buildings, it is crucial that developers, planners and boroughs are encouraged to raise the bar when proposing new sites, so they are as energy efficient as possible.

“This report underscores that we are on the right track with a range of energy busting measures being pursued across the capital’s new developments. But we can go further.

“Through the proposals in the draft London Plan, we want to deliver higher targets using a broad range of technologies with a common sense, practical approach to maximise carbon savings.”

Sam Bond

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