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Sustainable design and construction is a priority for the Council.

This page outlines the key principles of sustainable design and construction which we expect all applicants to follow.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Zero Carbon Standards

Major residential schemes

Every major development proposal should be accompanied by an energy assessment demonstrating how the targets for carbon dioxide emissions reduction will be met within the framework of the energy hierarchy. Zero carbon standards apply to all new major residential development (10 or more housing units) in line with London Plan (2016) policy 5.2 and draft London Plan Policy SI2. This means that at least 35% of regulated CO2 emission reductions (against a Building Regulations Part L (2013) baseline) must be achieved on-site, with the remaining emissions, up to 100%, to be offset through a contribution to the Council's Carbon Offset Fund.

The price for offsetting carbon is regularly reviewed and changes to the GLA's suggested carbon offset price will be updated in future guidance. A nationally recognised non-traded price of £95/tonne has been tested as part of the viability assessment for the London Plan, which this borough will use to collect offset payments. Further detail can be found in the Cabinet Member Decision.

Smaller residential and major non-residential schemes

Smaller residential schemes (below 10 units) and major non-residential schemes must achieve a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions (regulated) against a Building Regulations Part L (2013) baseline. If this is not technically feasible and therefore cannot be achieved using on-site measures then applicants will need to demonstrate and justify this as part of a planning application. A cash in lieu contribution to the Council’s Carbon Offset fund will be sought in cases where it is not technically feasible.

Sustainable Construction Checklist

The Sustainable Construction Checklist Supplementary Planning Document (pdf, 493 KB) (June 2020 (pdf, 71 KB)) describes the key principles of sustainable design and construction which we expect all applicants to follow. The SPD reflects the Council’s climate emergency declaration and the ambition to seek the highest standards of design and construction to improve the environmental performance of developments.

It forms a mandatory part of the planning application for the following classes of development:

  • All residential development providing 1 or more new dwellings, including conversions and extensions that create one or more new dwellings
  • All new non-residential development providing 100m2 or more floor area, including extensions over 100m2

Other classes of development, which require planning permission but do not fit into the above categories, specifically including conversions or extensions of residential or non-residential development, are encouraged to comply with the Checklist as far as possible.

The Checklist SPD consists of the following:

Water efficiency standards in new homes

The Council has adopted the national Building Regulations ‘higher standard’ for water consumption of 110 litres per person per day (including an allowance of five litres or less per person per day for external water consumption). All new residential developments including conversions, reversions, change of use and extensions that create one or more new dwellings must meet this target.

Non-residential development

Non-residential buildings over 100sqm will be required to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard as set out in Local Plan Policy LP22.

Conversions - BREEAM domestic refurbishment

For conversions, Local Plan Policy LP22 applies. Conversions, where relevant, are expected to meet BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment 'excellent' rating. 

Information for applicants

Planning applicants and developers who are preparing Energy Assessments should refer to and use the Greater London Authority guidance on preparing energy assessments (March 2016) as this reflects the changes to Part L Building Regulations.

Applicants may also wish to look at the following:

The following documents provide detailed guidance on how sustainable design and construction can be applied when building a small extension or carrying out other external alteration works to your home. This guidance may also be helpful if you are considering making improvements or retrofitting your existing property:

Frequently asked questions

A series of frequently asked questions (pdf, 196 KB) have been put together to answer some of the queries raised on the guidance.


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