The Government have set out the new approach to sustainability standards in housing through the Planning system, concluding their Housing Standards Review. The Code for Sustainable Homes has now been withdrawn, although transitional arrangements will allow existing schemes with a Planning or funding requirement for a Code assessment to be progressed as normal.
On the final day of Parliament 2015 the Deregulation Bill was given Royal Assent, becoming an Act of Parliament. The Deregulation Act will make a significant change to the Planning and Energy Act, by removing the clause which enabled Local Authorities to require new developments to reach higher energy efficiency standards. The Act also introduces new technical requirements which aim to standardise the requirements for water efficiency, security and space.
Timed to coincide with the Deregulation Act, the Government’s written ministerial statement sets out guidance to local planning authorities in setting performance standards for new housing. For the specific issue of energy performance, local planning authorities will continue to be able to ask for energy performance standards that exceed the Building Regulations until the national zero carbon homes policy is introduced, expected to be in late 2016. Until that time, local planning authorities should not ask for developments to achieve energy standards higher than a Code Level 4 equivalent.
Looking to fill the void left by the Code, the BRE recently launched a new voluntary sustainability standard known as the ‘Home Quality Mark’, with full details of the scheme to be announced in the summer.
These changes only apply to housing, meaning that local authorities will still be able to ask for BREEAM standards on non-residential development.
For more information the written ministerial statement can be found at: