London energy policies working say analysts

City Hall's efforts to curb energy usage in London's buildings have led to real reductions in carbon emissions, helping to reduce the impact on climate change.

This is the conclusion of a study undertaken by the London South Bank University which calculates that the London Plan will save over 135,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Over three quarters of these savings come from energy efficiency measures while the Mayor’s target of 10% of saving to come from on-site renewables was met by late 2005.

“In general, the Mayor’s policies have been highly successful in reducing expected energy consumption and CO2 emissions in new developments representing around a 26% saving of CO2,” said the report.

The report was commissioned by the Greater London Authority but the university was asked for an independent assessment of policy.

The authors note that carbon savings have increased over time, and that both developers and the GLA planning team have climbed a steep learning curve and are now more aware of how to address energy issues through the planning process.

The Mayor’s draft Housing Strategy, published last week, sets out plans to deliver 30,500 homes a year.

Accordingly, as the number of homes built increases, the strategy contains specific policies to continue tackling climate change with a firm Mayoral commitment that the £1 billion regional housing budget for London will only be invested in new homes that meet high standards of environmental performance.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, said: “This study shows that the development industry in London has made a dramatic change in its approach to energy and climate change over the last four years.

“It also shows the value of setting tough policy to drive innovation and the adoption of energy efficient building design, efficient energy supply and renewable energy technologies.

“As the evidence of accelerating climate change continues to build, I look forward to working with London’s construction and development communities to meet my targets for building new low carbon homes.”

Douglas Parr, policy director for Greenpeace said: “London has shown that strong local policies can make developers and builders actually change the way they work to reduce carbon emissions. They need to be made standard across the country whilst progressive authorities and the Greater London Authority can continue to drive standards towards zero-carbon building.”

Sam Bond

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