The UK Government published the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July 2018. This paves the way for local authorities to set their own energy efficiency standards in local planning policy and represents arguably the most important step change in Government policy on housing standards since Eric Pickles published his ministerial statement in March 2015.
With specific regard to energy policy, in its summary response to the NPPF consultation period, the Government has now clarified that the NPPF does not prevent local authorities from using their existing powers under the Planning & Energy Act 2008 to set higher ambition regarding energy efficiency standards above Building Regulations.
It is expected that this will see a number of local authorities, particularly outside London, begin to set higher targets for CO2 reduction over the Part L baseline.
In addition, while the Greater London Authority has maintained more challenging energy efficiency requirements for the last few years (currently seeking a 35% CO2 reduction over a Part L 2013 baseline), a number of London boroughs are seeking even higher standards above this (notably Tower Hamlets requiring a CO2 reduction of 45% in their draft Local Plan, currently under examination).
Other London boroughs have indicated that they would seek to follow Tower Hamlets if this is successful, paving the way for patchwork of energy efficiency standards to emerge over London in the coming years.