Tom Straker Design SBE0133

Written evidence submitted by Tom Straker Design

“What role can the planning system, permitted development and building regulations play in delivering a sustainable built environment? How can these policies incentivise developers to use low carbon materials and sustainable design?”

The planning system and Building Regulations, in particular, have the potential to play a crucial role in delivering a sustainable built environment. Without robust and visionary measures in place, we risk building an environment that is incompatible with the future existence of mankind.

I wish to draw the Committee’s attention to two important documents:

Do you agree with our expectation that a home built to the Future Homes Standard should produce 75-80% less CO2 emissions than one built to current requirements?

To which 80% of respondents replied that this, the governments proposed level, is too low a reduction. This is illustrative of the view of the majority of respondents that  the proposed levels of uplift in general are insufficient. These views (as expressed in the consultation, so far as its limited scope allowed) deserve and require proper consideration.

I quote from its executive summary:

We have to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050: that’s what climate scientists tell us, it’s what social protesters are asking for and it’s now the law in the UK. But we aren’t on track. For twenty years we’ve been trying to solve the problem with new or breakthrough technologies that supply energy and allow industry to keep growing, so we don’t have to change our lifestyles. But although some exciting new technology options are being developed, it will take a long time to deploy them, and they won’t be operating at scale within thirty years.

Meanwhile, our cars are getting heavier, we’re flying more each year and we heat our homes to higher temperatures. We all know that this makes no sense, but it’s difficult to start discussing how we really want to address climate change while we keep hoping that new technologies will take the problem away.

At present, it appears that government must be relying new technologies to “take the problem away”. Why else are we failing to implement standards that would seriously address the energy consumption and future readiness of building, such as the Passivhaus standard. Why do we still have almost 30 million homes that require a deep retrofit. Why is our infrastructure development focussed on schemes that destroy pristine and irreplaceable landscapes at a time when most of us expect to travel far less and when the existing roads around me are crumbling into a state of unusabilty?


Thank you, for considering these vital matters.

May 2021