New planning condition to force developers to comply.
All new City buildings will now be expected to achieve the BRE’s “Excellent” rating, as the corporation toughens its approach to environmental standards.
And planning chief Peter Rees will be asking architects to ensure their designs meet the required standard from the outset, having been granted delegated powers to check building performance on the drawing board.
As a result, City blocks are now more likely to be covered with photovoltaic solar panels, and green roofs and walls, with rooftops catching rainwater for use inside the buildings.
However, architects seeking to hit the performance target need to note previous comments from Rees, when reviewing schemes, to the effect that he considers both bio-mass boilers and wind turbines as inappropriate in the City environment.
The requirement will be met by a new condition within planning permissions. It puts into statute a view strongly held by several committee members, led by Michael Hudson, who have consistently checked schemes for their environmental performance – and pointed out any that fail to meet the Excellent level of the BRE’s Environmental Assessment Method.
“I fully support the change regarding the BREEAM rating,” responded Hudson to the news, noting that the Excellent rating was not the highest level achievable – that was Outstanding.
The change in procedure was announced at the 4 October planning meeting, with
news that the new condition had been road tested with Land Securities, on their redevelopment proposal for the International
Press Centre site.
Originally worded to require new buildings to meet the Excellent rating prior to construction starting, the clause has now been amended after Land Securities pointed out that certain items used to calculate the building’s rating – such as an occupier travel plan – relied on the tenant.
As a result, projects will need to qualify as Excellent on occupation, with Rees delegated to ensure that the design and construction is heading in the right direction, as the project progresses and ahead of knowing how the eventual occupier will use the building