The letter, dated 10 May 2018, and timed to coincide with the consultation closing for the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), points to confusion and uncertainty about what can and cannot be done at the local level to raise the sustainability of new build homes - particularly on energy and carbon - since the Government's withdrawal of the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2015.
An accompanying policy note to the open letter states:
"In a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) in March 2015, Government stated that ‘local planning authorities...should not set...any additional local technical standards or requirements relating to the construction, internal layout or performance of new dwellings.’ The exception was energy performance, where the WMS said that local authorities would continue to be able to require energy performance standards higher than Building Regulations up to the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 'until commencement of amendments to the Planning and Energy Act 2008'."
However, the powers to amend the 2008 Act have not been enacted.
The policy note continues:
"During the passage of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill through the House of Lords on 6th February 2017 Baroness Parminter asked in relation to carbon reductions: 'Can the Minister confirm that the Government will not prevent local councils requiring higher building standards? There is some lack of clarity about whether local authorities can carry on insisting in their local plans on higher standards. Will the Government confirm that they will not prevent local authorities including a requirement for higher building standards?'
"Lord Beecham replied: 'The noble Baroness asked specifically whether local authorities are able to set higher standards than the national ones, and I can confirm that they are able to do just that.' No further explanation was provided as to exactly what standards the minister was referring to."
The policy note recommends that:
"MHCLG should take appropriate steps to provide confidence and clarity to local authorities and combined authorities on their powers to raise energy performance standards in homes. Specifically, this should enable them to go beyond the equivalent of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 should they wish. It should also recognise that some, such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, are considering or have already committed to the introduction of ‘net zero carbon’ policies and commit to supporting these efforts."
For more information, see:
https://www.ukgbc.org/news/local-govern ... een-homes/
The open letter is available from:
https://www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/upload ... -MHCLG.pdf
The policy note is available from:
https://www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/upload ... y-Note.pdf
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