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The London Plan


The Built Environment


zero carbon, retrofitting

The London Plan states that from October 1st 2016, major developments of both domestic and commercial buildings within London will need to be zero carbon. This requirement is 35% higher than that stipulated in Part L of current national building regulations. Developers who fall foul of these more stringent regulations will be required to pay penalties. These payments will be used by the GLA (Greater London Authority) to support current carbon offsetting projects.  London plan policy grid Chapter five of the London Plan outlines policies which underpin the ‘London’s Response To Climate Change Strategy’. This strategy has been created around the original commitment to the Kyoto agreement by the government to reduce carbon emissions to 80% lower than 1990 levels by 2050. This figure was in turn derived from experts that form, ‘The Committee for Climate Change’, which was setup to advise the government on how to meet the requirements of the Kyoto agreement.  In the original London Plan published in 2011 by the then Lord Major of London, Boris Johnson, climate change and its amelioration formed a central plank to its strategy, London should:  excel among global cities – expanding opportunities for all its people and enterprises, achieving the highest environmental standards and quality of life and leading the world in its approach to tackling the urban challenges of the 21st century, particularly that of climate change’.  To achieve this urban utopia, The London Plan is divided up into six key, measurable objectives:
  1. A city that meets the challenges of economic and population growth
  2. An internationally competitive and successful city
  3. A city of diverse, strong, secure and accessible neighbourhoods
  4. A city that delights the senses
  5. A city that becomes a world leader in improving the environment 
  6. A city where it is easy, safe and convenient for everyone to access jobs, opportunities and facilities.
In the spirit of the Kyoto agreement, the London Plan goes on to state that London should be: A city that becomes a leader in improving the environment locally and globally, taking the lead in tackling climate change, reducing pollution, developing a low carbon economy and consuming fewer resources and using them more efficiently. London is unique in being able to set its own building regulations giving the GLA the power to enforce its zero carbon requirements. The building sector has been given time to plan and develop materials, techniques and services to meet the new requirements. As a direct result of these requirements research into zero carbon has been stimulated and many new and exciting solutions have been developed. London is home to many traditionally built domestic and commercial buildings. Many of these older properties are highly inefficient in energy use and retention resulting in high levels of carbon emission. In Westminster alone the built environment is responsible for 90% of its total carbon emissions. To address this problem the London Plan has a section devoted to retrofitting existing building. RE:FIT London is a body set up under the plan to facilitate the effective renovation and retrofitting of all public buildings within London. The RE:FIT team consists of a ‘Programme Delivery Unit’ that advises and supports projects throughout the process.  In addition to free expert support the RE:FIT programme provides a framework of energy service companies. RE:FIT can guarantee that any works recommended by the programme will result in large carbon reduction and subsequently cost savings. These savings have proved to be so significant that there are many case studies of projects where the capital expenditure involved in retrofitting have been recouped within a few years. To meet the stringent requirements set out in The London Plan, attention to lean, clean and green design needs to run throughout the lifetime of the project. With the introduction of ‘soft landing’ contracts the performance of a building to agreed specification might well be the responsibility of the developer for a number of years post completion.