Adopted Miscellaneous Matters - Partial Review of the Core Strategy: Policies CR7 and CE1

Miscellaneous Matters - Partial Review of the Core Strategy. CF7 and CE1

36.3 Planning Policies

36.3     Planning Policies

Climate Change

36.3.1      The United Kingdom emitted 532,373,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005, compared to approximately 558,000,000 tonnes in 1990. This constitutes an approximate 4.5% saving from 1990. The Royal Borough emitted approximately 1,417,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005 1,422,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2010.[4]. The Climate Change Act 2008 requires a reduction in CO2 emissions of at least 26% by 2020 and 60% by 2050, against a 1990 baseline. The government has recently increased this target to 80% by 2050, which will require far more aggressive measures to reduce CO2 emissions.


36.3.2    Global average temperatures have risen by nearly 0.8 oC since the late 19th century and risen by about 0.2 oC per decade over the past 25 years. This warming is, in part, from the greenhouse effect, i.e the result of the interaction of certain atmospheric gases with solar and terrestrial radiation[5].

36.3.3       In 2005, the Royal Borough emitted an estimated 8.06 tonnes of C02 per capita, which is above the London average of 6.45 tonnes but below the national average of 8.84 tonnes[6].

36.3.4      The Climate Change Strategy 2008 to 2015 states that 57% of the Royal Borough’s carbon dioxide emissions are from commercial uses (including shops, offices and hotels), compared to 45% nationally; 28% from domestic sources, compared to 27% nationally; and 15% from road transport, compared to 28% nationally.

36.3.5       Although a higher proportion of the Borough's emissions arise from industrial and commercial uses, DEFRA's projections show that a significant proportion of CO2 savings can be made within the domestic sector[7].

36.3.6      Environmental policy suggests that greenhouse gas emissions can be greatly reduced by significantly reducing the amount of heat and energy we use in our buildings, through energy efficient design, materials and construction, such as maximising natural heating and ventilation. Supplying the heat and energy we require locally, through decentralised district heat and energy networks and renewable sources, also minimises greenhouse gas emissions, minimises heat and energy lost during its transportation and contributes to securing heat and energy supply for the future.


36.3.7     Using well established tools such as the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM, a meaningful contribution to carbon reduction can be made. These toolsalso provide a means of achieving increasing carbon savings by raising the standards expected over time, and the type of developments to which the standards apply. s106 contributions could also have a role to play in the future to achieve further carbon reductions.


36.3.8       Achieving Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 will cost approximately 7% more than delivering to current Building Regulations standards[8]. Refurbishment of existing dwellings to EcoHomes Very Good using BREEAM methodology is considered reasonable[9]. The g Government also intends for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016. with a major progressive tightening of the energy efficiency building regulations; up to 25% (Code 3) in 2010, 44% (Code 4) in 2013 and zero carbon (Code 6) in 2016[10].


36.3.9      The Borough currently consumes an average of 159 litres of water per person per day, which is greater than the average for England and Wales (149 litres per person per day) but less than the London average (162 litres per person per day)[11].


36.3.9a BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment (BDR) is the appropriate assessment method for refurbishment, conversion and basement schemes where the whole property requires retrofitting. In order to meet the policy objectives relating to carbon reduction, water and waste minimum standards have been set for these criteria. The standards will assist in reducing the carbon footprint, enable water to be saved and ensure that construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfill.  


36.3.10      The Royal Borough contains over 4,000 listed buildings and over 70% of the Borough has conservation area status. Re-using historic buildings may significantly reduce energy consumption as existing buildings represent the ‘embodied’ energy used to produce them; whereas demolishing a brick building wastes the embodied energy and uses up more energy in demolition and rebuilding. The embodied energy in the bricks of a typical Victorian terraced house would drive a car more than ten times around the world[12].

36.3.11    English Heritage acknowledge the importance of making reasonable alterations to the existing building stock to mitigate climate change and state that often the energy efficiency of the historic buildings can be increased in ways sympathetic to their historic character[13].                    


36.3.11a Whilst listed buildings generally represent a greater challenge in terms of retrofitting for carbon reduction, it is possible in most cases, by careful selection of credits to avoid causing harm to the special architectural character or historic interest of the building. However, this may not be possible in all cases and where it is not possible to demonstrate that harm to the building will not result then the Council is likely to resist the principle of a basement extension.


36.3.12                  Planning applications for subterranean development in the Borough are increasing, with 64 in 2003, 89 in 2004, 85 in 2005, 110 in 2006, 192 in 2007, and 212 in 2008. This type of development produces a significant amount of greenhouse gases through the excavation and transportation of spoil, use of concrete, ventilation and lighting. It is right for the planning system to address this environmental impact. Given the nature of subterranean developments and the complexity of calculating and assessing CO2 emissions and savings, as a proxy the Council will take a pragmatic approach, using EcoHomes to achieve energy savings across the whole of the original building. In most circumstances this will secure a substantial carbon saving, while will not penalising the owners of properties that already have a low carbon footprint.


36.3.13    The ecological footprint in the Borough is 6.39 global hectares per capita, which is the 2nd highest in London (The London average is 5.48 and national average is 5.30). The primary contributors in the Borough are food (28%) and housing (21%)[14]. This, together with the greenhouse gases emitted during the transportation of food and manufacture of packaging, makes food production close to its consumption an important consideration for the Borough. There is opportunity, even in small developments, to use private garden space, green / living roofs and sheds to facilitate small scale on-site food production, and larger developments present different opportunities.

 36.3.14    The evidence on climate change shows that we need a policy to ensure that development mitigates against, and adapts to, climate change without unacceptable impacts on air quality. The Council also intends to take a leading role in identifying new and existing opportunities for decentralised heat and energy networks through heat and energy masterplanning.

[4] Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) / AEA Technology Plc Environmental Statistics   2005/06. No figures exist for carbon dioxide emissions in the Borough in 1990Department of Energy and
 Climate Change.  Local and Regional Carbon Dioxide Emissions Estimates for 2005-2010 for the UK.

 [5] RBKC Climate Change Strategy, 2008 - 2015.

[6] Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) / AEA Technology Plc Environmental Statistics

[7] Analysis to support climate change indicators for local authorities, April 2008. Prepared by AEA Technology

[8] Cost Analysis of The Code for Sustainable Homes, CLG, July 2008. Example used for a flat in the best case scenario

[9] Residential Evidence Base Report for Planning Policy CE1, 21 October 2009. Evidence Base report for Basements and Climate Change Policy, March 2013.

[10] Building a Greener Future, CLG, July 2007.

[11] Environment Agency, RBKC Fact Sheet, prepared as part of the Environment Agency's State of the Environment - London.

[12] Heritage Lottery Fund. Written Evidence for Heritage White Paper, 19 January 2006. (

[13] Climate Change and the Historic Environment, English Heritage. January 2008 and draft Planning Policy Statement 15.

[14] Environment Agency: RBKC Environmental summary factsheet, quoting REAP (Resources and Energy Analysis Programme) 2004.