The New London Plan 2021

10th February 2021

On the 29th January 2021, the Secretary of State (SoS) for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, confirmed that he would allow the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to publish his London Plan with no further changes being made.

The Plan is designed to implement a number of manifesto commitments made by the Mayor when he was elected in 2016, including:

  • making London a zero-carbon city by 2050;
  • a long-term target to achieve 50 per cent all of new dwellings as affordable homes;
  • supporting modal shift so 80 per cent of journeys are by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041;
  • protecting London’s Green Belt.

Central to the new Plan are clear rules for all new developments to meet low carbon, energy efficiency and sustainability standards as part of a drive to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050.

In particular, the new London Plan is pioneering the regulation of embodied carbon levels in proposed buildings. The Mayor requires all major developments to be net-zero carbon, which is embodied by Policy SI 2 (Minimising greenhouse gas emissions).  The policy means that all schemes will be required to ‘calculate whole life-cycle carbon emissions through a nationally recognised assessment and demonstrate actions taken to reduce them’. Read more in our article Sustainability Standards.

New provisions have also been incorporated to better support councils in enforcing the amount of affordable housing in new projects – including ‘greater transparency around viability assessments’. This is in line with the Mayor’s Affordable Housing and Viability SPG, which the Mayor believes will help achieve his long-term target of making 50 per cent of new homes ‘affordable’.

However, the SoS’s response included a strong message regarding London’s ‘acute housing need’, something he believes the Mayor’s Plan does not adequately address. He expects the Mayor ‘to start working to dramatically increase the capital’s housing delivery’ and urges him ‘to work closely with those authorities that surround London to develop a strategy to help alleviate the housing pressure that is faced both inside and immediately outside the capital’.

The administrative phase of the adoption process for the new Plan will take a number of weeks, but it is expected to be adopted before the purdah period in March, in time for May’s Mayoral Election.

For any information on the upcoming changes and how they may affect your planning project, please contact Bell Cornwell’s London office.

Geoff Megarity, Senior Planner

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