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Green and Simple Legislation for Developers?

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In November 2008 the Planning and Energy Act - one of the few private members bills to become law - received Royal Assent.

This new planning policy, tagged the 'Merton rule' after the London Borough Council that introduced it, requires certain commercial developments to source at least 10% of their energy on site, from renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Now all local planning authorities can introduce policies that impose reasonable requirements relating to the proportion of on or near site renewable and other 'low carbon' energy used in developments.

New policies that address the energy efficiency standards can also be introduced, that are expected to be - at around 10 -15% - more stringent than the energy requirements of building regulations already in place.

Gareth Owen of Keeble Hawson sees developers' lives becoming more difficult and not because they don't want to comply with environmental standards:

"Developers have to live on the same planet as the rest of us, but the difficulty for them comes with having to interpret the new legislation in conjunction with the Government's Planning Policy Statement (PPS) on Climate Change."

"Much though I welcome this initiative I have to ask why when the Government is already implementing a raft of measures to encourage energy efficiency in buildings, a private members' bill is desirable or necessary."

"Developers need one simple, clear and definitive body of rules that provide guidelines with clarity and bring together all the relevant standards."

By Gareth Owen, Commercial Property Partner at Keeble Hawson. For further information:

Direct telephone: 0114 2906255

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