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A newly updated sustainability checklist that aims to help developers make new developments as green as possible has been approved by Richmond Council.

The Sustainable Construction Checklist Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is an update to the existing SPD, which was last revised in 2016. It gives housebuilders and those developing non-residential spaces a clear steer on what is expected of them to reduce the environmental impact of their developments, regardless of whether their projects are new builds, conversions or extensions.

At last week’s Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sport Committee, Members agreed the SPD and checklist which aims to ensure that new developments contribute to meeting the challenges posed by the growing climate emergency. The goal of all future development is that they produce zero carbon emissions.

However, where it is demonstrated that the zero carbon target cannot be fully met on site, the Council has a Carbon Offset Fund in place for cash in lieu contributions from developers. This money is spent on carbon offsetting projects around the borough to achieve carbon dioxide emission reduction savings. Previously, the local cost for developers was £60 per tonne of carbon. However, the Council has now agreed to increase the price of carbon to £95 per tonne.

The new Sustainable Construction Checklist SPD also sets out the need to minimise flood risks, pollution and pressure on water sources, and helps protect and enhance biodiversity. This is all aimed at helping to ensure any development meets the highest standards of design and construction to improve the environmental performance of developments.

The update reflects the changes to the policy requirements set out in the adopted Local Plan and the London Plan, including energy and water efficiency standards.

The strategy includes the information that should be submitted with planning applications to demonstrate how schemes meet the Councils’ requirements. It includes information on:

  • Energy Performance and Assessments
  • Water use / Flooding and Drainage
  • Environmental Rating: BREEAM
  • Energy use and pollution
  • Transport
  • Biodiversity
  • Design standards and Accessibility

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sport Committee, said:

“Last year we declared a Climate Emergency and have a strategy in place for dealing with the local response to this. However, one thing is clear - climate change is everyone’s problem. We need to make sure that all future development in the borough meets our planning requirements for sustainable design and construction. This updated checklist setting out the requirements for applicants will be a material consideration in deciding future planning applications.

See the SPD details

– from a Richmond Council press release - 19 June 2020