Mayor's city energy policy faces debate

The London mayor's goal of doubling on-site renewable energy targets for buildings could conflict with DCLG moves to revise the Merton rule, it has emerged.

This week, the independent panel charged with reviewing the London Plan endorsed mayor Ken Livingstone's policy for 20 per cent on-site renewables.

But the policy contradicts housing minister Yvette Cooper's revelation that a more flexible Merton approach is being explored (Planning, 28 September, p1). This would use both site and area-specific targets for renewable technologies.

London First director of planning and development Judith Salomon commented: "There does appear to be a conflict between the mayor's strict targets and Cooper's more strategic approach."

London Borough of Merton principal environment officer Adrian Hewitt said: "There may be movement in the DCLG in support of the Merton rule. The mayor should be able to adopt his own policy. But how this would sit with the wider UK perspective is hard to say."

Developers claim that area-wide targets are unrealistic in cases such as high-density offices (Planning, 22 June, p3). The panel also backed a renewable energy fund to allow developers to pay for efficiency improvements where on-site renewables prove to be infeasible.

The DCLG said it is unable to comment until its climate change planning policy is published later this year.

- The report is available at

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