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How to Determine the Criteria for your Energy & Sustainability Statement

When planning your development in today’s climate, you will more than likely come across the need for an energy & sustainability statement. These statements consist of how the development will meet the standards set out for carbon emissions of the development and how the supporting sustainability policies are to be met.

The first point to address when it comes to these statements is the criteria, To make things slightly more complicated, each borough, council and area may well have different criteria and policies for each individual point in the statement.

Not to worry though! A few documents are available to assist in knowing how your project needs to meet these criteria. Before we look into how this is done, It’s worth mentioning, us at Vision Energy or your preferred consultant will have the know-how to pull apart these documents and set out the criteria in a simple way for you so a good point of call is to get in touch! However, if you are looking to understand your developments challenges and put together a plan for the solutions, we will break it down for you below.


The first step really depends on what stage you are at with your planning application, if you have gaining planning consent subject to conditions, you will more than likely have access to readily available information rather than if you are in a pre-application stage.

Approval with conditons

If you planning has been approved subject to conditions, the first step is to check your conditions to see if the criteria has been outlined, more often than not the planning authority will outline the requirements for the energy & sustainability statement within the conditions or reference the documents for you to access the criteria.

Pre- Application stage

If you are yet to submit planning, you will have to do a little more research into the criteria to ensure that the statement is correct and supports the application, a good basis is if you do have pre-application meetings or correspondance, the planning officer may mention the energy & sustainability requirements, however its always worth checking the criteria you are expected to hit.


Now we have established the stage of the application, the next step is to ensure that you know if your development falls into the category of major or minor development, these can alter per authority but below is a good basis to work off

Major development – Residential development with 10 or more units

Major development – Commercial development over 1000 Sqm

Minor development – Residential development with 9 units or below (sometimes these are even split into units 5-9 and 5 or below)

Minor development – Commercial development between 500Sqm – 999Sqm

Please note: it is recommended to confirm the above incase the local planning authority works to a different model


Next, we have established the type of development, we now need to find the policies and documents that the planning department will need to see displayed in the energy & sustainability statements. For major developments, the main area you will be able to find the criteria for the statement is within the Local authority Local Plan, the local plan outlines all of the policies that the borough, town or city has implemented for all aspects, this includes sustainable developments, carbon emissions, climate change, overheating etc, so find the local plan and source the planning policy numbers that cover sustainability and energy, these could include the below topics

  • Energy & reducing carbon Emissions
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Waste & recycling
  • Pollution
  • Biodiversity & natural environment
  • Sustainable transport
  • Green infrastructure

Each of the policies will be covered within the local plan and they are normally highlighted or in convenient boxes to ensure they stand out!

Some local plans may also reference SPD’s, these are supplementary planning documents and are there to further outline the planning policies or assist in how to meet the policies set out. these are also incredibly useful when it comes to minor developments.

Minor Developments can be a little more tricky, the Local plan outlines the policies that a required to be met by major developments, some councils will provide SPD’s to outline how to approach minor developments but some also won’t! this is when it may well be worth looking into previous applications or opening a dialogue with the planning department to what they would be looking for.

It is noted that areas adopting a Net-Zero policy, normally like to see these standards hit on all developments unless proven that this is not feasible.


As a summary, it is key to be able to determine the criteria you need to meet for your next development, it could save or cost you money depending on if you do or do not factor the planning departments requirements into your build. Check the local plan, any SPD’s and if you can open a dialogue between you and the local authority as early as possible!


David Barsted

Managing Director – Vision Energy

01625 315040

david@vision-energy.co.uk

Sustainability & Energy Services

Vision Energy are a leading Sustainability & Energy consultancy working nationwide, We specialise in calculations & reports covering Building Regulations, Planning Permission and all other sustainability or energy needs within the construction sector, With a vast amount of knowledge and experience having worked on thousands of projects across the UK, one of our engineers would be more than happy to assist you on your project. SAP Calculations | SBEM Calculations | Energy Statements | BREEAM Assessments | M&E Design | EPC's | Water Efficiency | Air Permeability

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