As set out in a policy statement on planning for sustainable buildings last year, all planning applications for new homes will be expected to meet Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes from 1 September 2010.
For new homes this will:
- reduce their carbon footprint by more than 31 per cent compared to current building regulations through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy
- reduce the consumption of water
- ensure the use of more sustainable materials
Speaking about the changes, the Minister said:
“I am committed to making sure that Wales reduces its carbon footprint to protect the environment for future generations.
“We know that the built environment is the largest contributor to green house gases in Wales and that the way we construct our homes and buildings accounts for 40% of our total carbon emissions. That is why I am determined to use the planning system to help move us towards zero carbon buildings.
"From 1 September all planning applications for new homes will have to adhere to increased environmental standards. This will result in new homes that are more energy efficient, more sustainable and generally much kinder to our environment.”
Peter Davies, Commissioner for Wales of the Sustainable Development Commission said:
“Improving our new buildings is an important part of Wales becoming a low-carbon, sustainable country and this change is likely to mean lower energy bills in the short term and protection from future price rises.
“In meeting the new standards, priority should be given to improving the fabric of buildings. We also want to see continued collaboration between the government and the construction sector, including through the ‘Low/Zero Carbon Hub’. We welcome this change and we hope to see further progress in the months and years ahead.”
The standards have been in place for new homes built on sites of five or more residential units for the last year.
The move to make the built environment much more sustainable will be further complemented by the devolution of building regulations to Wales .. It will also contribute to the Assembly Government’s targets to reduce emissions by 3 per cent from 2011.
Delivering buildings to a higher standard may also help to generate demand for low carbon, resource efficient and eco-friendly products and services – a key part of our Green Jobs Strategy.
The new planning policy is just the latest Welsh Assembly Government action on using the planning system for the green agenda. In July Planning Policy Wales was updated to give greater emphasis to tackling climate change through the planning system.
Technical Advice Note 22 Planning for Sustainable Buildings which provides advice for local planning authorities and developers on this policy was published in June 2010.