London Goes Zero Carbon

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has the power to enforce policy that normal local authorities cannot and an assessment indicated that a zero carbon standard would not compromise housing viability. London Plan Policy 5.2 sets the standards for carbon dioxide emissions for development proposals within Greater London and as of 1st of October 2016 all new major residential developments are expected to be ‘zero carbon’.

The zero carbon target can be met by following the ‘energy hierarchy’ (Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green) approach. This ensures that building fabric performance and services are as efficient as possible. It is then necessary to investigate the possibility of connection to district heating networks and the viability of CHP (Combined Heat and Power). Finally the feasibility of renewable and low carbon technologies must be considered. All of these measures combined should achieve the required 100% improvement over Part L 2013 target emissions i.e.’ zero carbon’. Where this is not possible on site then robust evidence demonstrating why this is the case must be provided.

The new ‘zero carbon’ target does not require all carbon emissions to be offset on site; there is an option to make a cash in lieu payment, once the energy hierarchy has been completed, to offset any remaining emissions that cannot be dealt with on site. It is still necessary to achieve at least a 35% reduction via onsite measures but it will be possible to offset the remaining emissions by making an average payment of £1,800 per tonne of carbon dioxide produced over a calculated 30 year lifespan. To avoid large off-set payments it will be necessary to reduce emissions as far as is technically and financially feasible on site.

The GLA state that overheating analysis should now be included in all energy statements. For residential development this should, at least, utilise overheating risk calculations included in the SAP calculation and for commercial development a similar calculation is included in the BRUKL document. The guidance encourages the use of Dynamic Simulation Modelling completed in accordance with CIBSE guidance in TM49 and TM52, all of which my colleagues are able to undertake to support your application.

We have many years of experience providing energy statements for GLA planning applications and would welcome the opportunity to assist you meet these new requirements in the most efficient and cost effective way. If you wish to discuss a specific project in more detail or have a broader enquiry regarding planning policy within the London boroughs then please contact us and we will be happy to talk through your requirements.


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