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Sustainable building policy shake-up

Words: Roger Milne

The Welsh Government has confirmed it will withdraw its detailed policy on planning for sustainable buildings at the end of next month (July).

At that point it will issue amended policy on design which will include material on the energy hierarchy, allowable solutions and sustainable building policies on strategic sites in local development plans.

Housing and regeneration minister Carl Sargeant has written to all local authority chief executives, chief planning officers and local authority cabinet members with responsibility for planning explaining these moves which will mean the withdrawal of Technical Advice Note 22 (TAN 22) and the issuing of a new-look Technical Advice Note 12 (TAN 12).

Also as a result of these moves the devolved administration will remove a section of the Planning Policy for Wales (PPW) which expects new homes and major new non-residential developments to achieve a minimum sustainable building standard. Paragraph 4.12.4 is the part in question.

Sargeant explained that this has become superfluous now the Welsh government has control over building regulations. Changes to part L of the regulations (covering energy efficiency) are due to come into force on 31 July.

“TAN22 has served its purpose now that the Welsh government has control over building regulations, which provide a more appropriate vehicle for setting building standards. Removing TAN 22 will reduce duplication, time and costs in the development process,” he insisted.

Sargeant’s letter sets out the procedural issues which local planning authorities will need to take into account. It also highlights that the next review of part L, in 2016, will consider further steps in energy performance designed to meet the EU directive target of nearly zero energy new buildings by 2019 for the public sector and 2021 across the board.