City of London Corporation approves new sustainability guidance for developers in ‘huge step’ towards net zero

The City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transport Committee has today (12 December), approved a new Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).


The move aligns with the organisation’s Climate Action Strategy, which supports the achievement of net zero for the whole Square Mile by 2040.


The SPD will provide guidance on how developers should approach sustainability in their developments and sets out what the City Corporation expects to see addressed through the developer’s approach to their sites and the design and construction of buildings. The SPD aligns with the emerging City Plan 2040, expected to be approved and adopted in 2024.


Five key considerations are identified in the guidance for developers, in order to set exemplary standards for sustainability, without undermining the economic viability of planning applications. These include:

·       Retrofit and reuse - Outlining the ‘retrofit first’ approach, promoting the reuse of existing buildings where this is the most sustainable and suitable approach for a site, in line with the City Corporation’s adopted Carbon Options Guidance.

·       Energy use and ‘Whole Life-Cycle’ carbon emissions - Providing guidance on reducing and mitigating emissions from construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including demolition and disposal.

·       Circular Economy in Construction and Operation - Demonstrating how developers should shift from a linear to a more circular construction model, where a long-life, loose-fit, low-energy approach is taken to all new and existing buildings and materials, with focus then switching to reducing and treating waste produced by occupants.

·       Climate resilience - Sets out how flood risk management, sustainable drainage systems, water management, infrastructure resilience, disease and pest control, as well as urban heating, should be approached for developments within the City.

·       Biodiversity and urban greening - Providing guidance on how development should contribute to connecting green spaces, creating more greening in the City, and provide measures that improve the biodiversity of the Square Mile.


Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transport Committee, Shravan Joshi, said:

The Committee’s approval of this Sustainability SPD is a giant step forward for the City Corporation in pursuit of its decarbonisation goals, particularly as the built environment sector contributes around 40% of the City’s total carbon emissions.

“The City of London is home to some of the most sustainable buildings on the planet and as it continues to be a hugely attractive place for office occupiers, we are confident that investors and developers will continue with us on the path to a sustainable Square Mile.”