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Renewable policy could fail green targets

The London property industry, led by the British Property Federation and London First, is calling on the Mayor of London to scrap green targets that are likely to fail to achieve their objectives. At present these call for 20 per cent of energy used by new buildings to be generated from onsite renewable sources by 2009.

The policy is doomed to failure because solar panels and wind turbines attached to building cannot provide the energy required due to the London’s dense urban conditions. At the independent examination of the Mayor’s proposals the Government called on the Mayor to provide evidence to justify any divergence from the national target of 10%. Research by South Bank University commissioned by the Mayor failed to do this: concluding that most developments can only reach about 5% energy supply from renewable sources. The research also highlighted conflict between the Mayor’s policies promoting local energy generation and renewable energy supply.

Redirecting the financial investment required to deliver the onsite renewables target to the buildings themselves (ie fabric of buildings and services such as boilers) would increase their energy efficiency. This would ultimately save significantly more CO2.

Speaking at a climate change review this week, property industry experts (including BPF, Bellway Homes, London First, Home Builders Federation and WPOA) stated that the focus must be on carbon reduction and energy should be supplied by the most efficient means, no matter where it is produced. Unreasonably onerous environmental requirements risk providing a considerable disincentive to development, despite great demand for housing and commercial property.

At present, the Mayor is proposing a policy hierarchy that includes improving the efficiency of buildings, but which heavily favours the delivery of onsite renewable energy.

The industry believes that the Mayor’s policy hierarchy needs to be reworked in order to place a greater emphasis on improving the efficiency of buildings.

The hierarchy should read as follows:

“The Mayor will and Boroughs should ensure future developments meet the highest standards of sustainable design and construction and in the case of housing proposals meet the energy efficiency aspects of the Code for Sustainable Homes….”

“The Mayor will and Boroughs should in their DPDs require all developments to demonstrate that their heating, cooling and power systems have been selected to minimise CO2 emissions where feasible and/or viable.

“reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 10% from onsite renewable energy generation, where feasible and/or viable.”

Notes to Editors
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London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure

London First delivers its activities with the support of 300 of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as property, finance, professional services, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges. London First members represent 26% of London’s GDP.

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