House builders and property developers in Newcastle should meet higher environmental standards to help fight climate change, planners say.
Newcastle City Council’s new local planning guidance directs firms to go above and beyond the current requirements of national building regulations.
Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: “We have made a strong commitment as a city to cutting carbon emissions to net zero and homes and buildings, which account for around two thirds of the total, must play a major role in that.
“Ensuring that new buildings do not add unnecessarily to the carbon crisis is the least we can do. Up to now a lack of progress on new national building regulations has been holding us back in being more ambitious than the national minimum.
“But thankfully the Government have now listened to councils and are allowing us to lead the way, driving the improvements in standards we want to see and which are essential if we are to achieve our climate change ambitions.”
The new guidance – which covers the energy efficiency of buildings and the information required during the planning process – will apply to what are termed “major” applications.
That includes residential developments of 10 or more homes, or which cover more than 0.5 hectares; and non-residential buildings with 1,000 square meters of floor space – about four tennis courts worth – or sites of more than one hectare – around one and a half football pitches.
While only covering developers of larger projects this guidance comes at a time when everyone is being encouraged to do more to improve the energy efficiency of buildings both old and new.
Landlords can, since April last year, no longer let properties covered by national Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations if they receive one of the three worst energy performance certificate ratings (E, F or G), unless they have a valid exemption in place, forcing them to upgrade existing buildings.
And the council is seeking to ensure higher environmental standards for all individual builds or smaller developments, with a voluntary low carbon building standard set to be developed.
Details of the new sustainability requirements and guidance on how to design suitable developments are available on the Newcastle City Council website.
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