Local authorities should lead on sustainable development, charity says

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has published a report calling on cities and local authorities to take the lead in supporting sustainable development in their local areas.

The paper highlights the government’s scaling back on ambitions for zero carbon and sustainable new homes in recent years and argues that councils should take the lead in improving the standards of new-build housing in their areas.

It suggests this could be achieved by requiring higher building standards on their own land, using tools like Open Book Viability, and running energy companies.

In addition, the paper outlined areas where devolution deals could help promote sustainable development. It put forward the recommendation that cities could develop spatial plans for the whole area; work with industry to develop standards for higher quality homes; and bring budgets together to tackle health and housing issues holistically.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive, UK Green Building Council: “In the current policy landscape, with ambition in sustainable housing at a national level falling short, it is vital we consider how local and city authorities can play a leadership role. This is the only way we will meet our stretching carbon reduction targets and deliver genuinely sustainable places.

“This paper proposes that cities should learn from existing best practices in respect of planning and design tools, and drive up sustainability standards for housing on their own land. It also suggests advocating for new powers under devolution, which would enable them to work in partnership with industry to raise the bar for new-build housing in their jurisdiction. We look forward to the views of stakeholders on our proposals.”