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Sustainability Statements

The Sustainability Statement forms a crucial part of any planning application.

With the right approach, a well written sustainability statement can ensure a smooth and successful passage through to approval.

The aim of the report is to demonstrate how the developer will address specific local objectives from CO2 emissions and renewable energy targets to environmental issues. This may be achieved with better performing fabric, efficient services, renewable technologies and consideration of wider environmental factors onsite.

It’s important to note that these reports appear under different guises depending on where you are building. Some planning authorities may request an ‘Energy Statement‘, which is likely to be more limited in its scope. Some may request a ‘Sustainable Design and Construction Checklist’ which meets wider, more tailored local requirements. Other variations exist just to keep us on our toes!

The Sustainability Statement will generally be prepared at pre-planning stage and accompany the final application.  Planning departments have very different policies – from ‘London Plan’ guidelines to renewable energy targets set by local councils.

What is a Sustainability Statement?

A sustainability statement is a report which demonstrates how a scheme will address core policies around sustainability, as set by your local authority. To determine which rules and guidance you need to follow, you can find this information in a number of ways:

  • View the local authority policy documents online
  • Request pre-planning advice or a ‘pre-app’ meeting
  • Speak directly to your sustainability officer, if one exists

If information is hard to come by, and we are not already familiar with your local requirements we are very happy to speak to your planners to ensure that they will receive what they need. This also ensures that you get an accurate idea of costs and timescales.

A sustainability statement will typically cover all aspects of development form, which can contribute to securing high standards of sustainable development.

Energy Strategy

The core energy strategy is the most crucial aspect of any statement. This will demonstrate how the scheme will address renewable technology obligations or CO2 emissions targets.

Many authorities, for example London Boroughs, will require some consideration of local decentralised energy networks (i.e CHP). The applicant will need to show how the proposed scheme may either connect to existing infrastructure, or provide new supply.

Recent changes mean that developers in London must also deliver Zero Carbon Homes on all major developments.

For residential schemes, we will typically demonstrate carbon emissions with SAP Calculations, and on non domestic schemes with SBEM calculations.

For more detail around energy considerations take a look at the Energy Statements blog.

Sustainability Statements – Tailored To Fit

Energy StatementIt is essential that any report you commision is targeted to your specific planning authority.

Generic reports (often no more than glorified brochures) serve no purpose to design teams. They risk a flat refusal and provide no value to the client when it comes to delivering the scheme.

Depending on local guidance, considerations we would expect to cover, aside from energy include water efficiency, flood risk assessment or surface water reporting.

Depending on the size of the development, wider measures to reduce construction and demolition waste will need to be considered. Recycling facilities, re-use of site waste and the procurement of low-impact materials may be required. Effects on the biodiversity of the site can be mitigated with ecology reporting.

We may also look in more detail at designing to increase the use of natural lighting.

Buildings need to be designed for flexible use. Adaptation to reflect changing lifestyles and needs is now also a common theme, as is the principle of whole life costing.

Would you like to discuss your project?

Call us for a chat on 0330 055 34 05 or email

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