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Planning and Environment

Approaches to Sustainable Design & Construction

By 4 July 2024No Comments

Last Updated on 4 July 2024

Approaches to Sustainable Design & Construction

Explanatory Note

London Borough of Merton

On 10th November 2023, Merton Council published a revised 15-page explanatory note on ‘Approaches to Sustainable Design & Construction’.  The stated purpose of the note is “to provide guidance on the approach for sustainable design and construction for domestic, non-domestic and mixed-use developments in Merton, in accordance with the requirements set out in Policy CS15 (Climate Change) of Merton’s Core Planning Strategy (2011) and Chapter 9 Sustainable Infrastructure of the Mayor’s London Plan (2021)”.

Policy CS15 requires all minor and major development, including major refurbishment, to demonstrate how it makes effective use of resources and materials, minimises water use and CO2 emissions. Consequently, all new developments proposing the creation of new dwellings will be required to include either a sustainability statement within the Design & Access Statement or, for larger developments, a standalone statement, as well as an energy assessment that details how the proposal will comply with parts A to E of Policy CS15 and with the policies outlined in ‘Sustainable Infrastructure’ (Chapter 9) of the 2021 London Plan.

The key messages for developers are:

  • Be Lean: maximise energy & carbon savings through a ‘fabric first’ approach;
  • Be Clean: exploit local energy resources;
  • Be Green: maximise on-site renewable energy generation;
  • Be Seen: monitor energy use post-construction.

Major developments (more than 9 units) must submit a stand-alone energy statement in line with GLA guidance, and must achieve greater than 35% reduction in CO2 emissions and at least a 10% improvement in energy efficiency against national Building Regulations Part L (energy efficiency), revised in June 2021.  There are slightly different requirements for multi-residential schemes and conversions/change of use.  Major non-domestic developments (more than 500m2 gross internal area) must be built to BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) standard ‘Very Good’, with an improvement in energy efficiency of at least 15%.

At the planning stage, applicants must supply evidence to show that anticipated performance is adequate on carbon emissions, water efficiency, BREEAM performance, solar PV panels, air source heat pumps, and decentralised energy.  Post construction, similar evidence that these performance standards have been met must be submitted to the Local Authority for approval before any conditions imposed on planning consent can be discharged.

AM2 6th May 2024