Planning and Energy Bill
This Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords in June.
One of its aims is to reduce the amount of energy a building needs and ensure that a certain amount of this energy is provided by renewable sources (eg wind turbines, solar panels) or other low carbon solutions (eg district heating). If the Bill is implemented, commercial developments over a certain size will have to source at least 10 per cent of their energy from on-site sources of renewable energy. This is already the current planning policy of one of the London Borough Councils.
The Bill would also give local planning authorities new powers. They would be able to impose reasonable requirements in their development plan regarding on-site and near-site renewable energy and other low carbon energy solutions. They would also be able – within reason – to require development in the area to comply with their own energy efficiency standards, which are far more stringent than those required by building regulations.
The government is in the process of setting a fine example, by way of the Public Sector Buildings (Energy Performance) Bill which seeks to require the government and its agencies to rent, lease or purchase buildings with an energy performance certificate rating of A or B. (By way of comparison, the Eden Project only just qualifies as an A rating!).
As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.