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One day to zero carbon standard for new residential development in London

The Zero Carbon Policy was scrapped by the government in 2015, after the Housing Standards Review. However, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has chosen to keep a zero carbon homes requirement in the London Plan.  This means that, from 1 October 2016, new residential developments in London will have to meet a new zero carbon standard.  

From 1 October, developers of major residential developments will have to achieve at least a 35% reduction in carbon dioxide  emissions  (beyond Part L 2013 Building Regulations) on-site.  The remaining carbon dioxide emissions - up to 100% - are to be off-set through a contribution to the relevant borough

How will the changes affect your development?

Will it apply to all residential developments in the Greater London Authority?

The Mayor of London's Supplementary Planning Guidance states that zero carbon homes are those forming part of major development applications.  For residential developments, that typically means those with 150 or more units.

When will the standard start to apply?

The zero carbon requirement applies to all Stage 1 applications received by the Mayor on or after 1 October 2016. 
Planning applications to the GLA are first submitted on a Stage 1 basis. Comments are then provided by the GLA to the developer as to whether the application complies with the London Plan's policies. The application is then re-submitted at Stage 2, following which final comments and a decision are made.

How much will it cost?

The Mayor's Housing Standard Viability Assessment assumed a carbon off-set price of £60 per tonne of carbon dioxide for a period of 30 years. However, some boroughs are applying higher carbon prices.

Where the construction of more energy efficient residential units is not viable, developers could find themselves paying huge sums to offset the failure to meet  the zero carbon target. These contributions will be secured through Section 106 Agreements forming part of the overall planning gain package that the GLA and local planning authorities will require for major development to be granted planning permission.  

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at September 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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