Sustainability Statements

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

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

These reports may take several guises depending on where you are building. Planners may use different terminology like ‘Energy Statement’, ‘Sustainable Design and Construction Checklist’ or similar.

Whatever the term, 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.

The statement will generally be prepared at pre-planning stage and accompany your application.

It is important to note that 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) and 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, 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, measures to reduce construction and demolition waste and increase recycling, and promote 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.

Designing buildings for flexible use and adaptation to reflect changing lifestyles / 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 01202 280062 or email

"HPW Architecture Ltd engaged Build Energy to assist with a planning application for a residential development in Ealing, London. The project involved onerous sustainability standards and we worked closely with Build Energy to ensure we delivered a commercially viable solution. From the very first introductory meeting they provided a first class service by helping to demystify the whole process and demonstrated excellent knowledge. We have found their experience and advice invaluable and would have no hesitation recommending their services"

Ben Jepson

HPW Architecture