14 August 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The UK Green Building Council has welcomed the Mayor of London's draft London Environment Strategy
including proposals for all new buildings to be zero carbon.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan published his draft London Environment Strategy last week. One of its aims is to make London to be a zero carbon city by 2050, with energy efficient buildings, clean transport
and clean energy.
The strategy says there is evidence that diesel generators installed as emergency back-up power sources in offices and other buildings are increasingly being used to meet peak electricity demand from the grid. This is because the grid now struggles to match supply with demand. The government does not impose any controls on the emissions from most of these generators, however, they have the potential for significant negative effects if their use continues to grow.
The mayor proposes to use planning powers to prevent the creation of new diesel-powered 'generator farms' in London and ensure that the effects of any new emergency generators in buildings are minimised. To help this the mayor will work with health authorities and others to raise awareness of the impact of the use of diesel generators on air quality.
The strategy says the mayor will work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to seek market reforms and discourage the use of emergency generators in the short-term operating reserve and capacity markets. He will also encourage Defra to apply more robust standards, and give the mayor the powers to regulate this sector in London.
The mayor will also work with the retrofit industry and generator owners to develop effective and install effective retrofit solutions for existing generators as soon as possible. Where applicable, retrofit for emergency generators could be supported by the mayor's retrofit programmes.
John Alker, campaign and policy director at UK-GBC, said: "This draft plan outlines a number of important and ambitious policies, including proposals for all new buildings to be zero carbon from 2019, and for new large-scale schemes to be 'Air Quality Positive'. The draft also proposes a new 'Urban Greening Factor' for new developments.
"These aspirations highlight the growing trend: it is our cities that are leading the way in the absence of policy ambition and clarity from central government.
"UK-GBC strongly welcomes this type of leadership and will be contributing the voice of progressive built environment businesses to this consultation. We look forward to engaging with the mayor's office on the detail of these policies and maintaining the ambitions outlined."
This is the first strategy to bring together approaches to every aspect of London's environment. It is divided into the following areas: air quality, green infrastructure, climate change mitigation and energy waste, adapting to climate change, and ambient noise.