NFB succeeds with recommendations to stop councils implementing their own Part L standards
Approved document Part L sets the national building regulations for the conservation of fuel and power; however, some local authorities have begun using planning policies to overrule this policy and set their own standards, plus taxes if they are not met.
If you are building in the South West, specifically Bath and North East Somerset, you may be aware of this and have seen that a local plan update included the use of PHPP, the Passivhaus planning tool, and embodied carbon. When this local plan change was first proposed, the NFB Policy team immediately spoke to journalists about why this is problematic and more importantly, lobbied ministers and the Government to stop this via a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS).
On December 13 2023, a WMS was finally released which did just that, stopping Building Regulations from being superseded by local planning policy.
In practice, this means local planning authorities cannot set higher standards outside the Building Regs standards and adopt them in the local plan. They must continue to set any higher standards through SAP and the Targeted Emission Rates (TER), with viability maintained and local energy infrastructure capacity assessed.
Plans which have already set higher standards outside of Building Regulations (eg-Bath and North East Somerset) may be appealed with the planning inspectorate having the final call on whether they meet regulations.
Over the coming months, the Government will monitor how existing policies are working, or most likely not working. The NFB will be keeping track of the inevitable legal cases which may come from this decision. The full statement made by Lee Rowley MP, Construction Minister, can be read, here: