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31 March 2015
In an effort to simplify government regulation and standards for the housing sector, the Government has removed Local Authorities' option to stipulate the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH). LAs may now only require new housing to meet the minimum standards of the Building Regulations and, where justified and viable, certain optional Building Regulations criteria and the new national technical standards affecting space standards.
BRE, who manage the Government-owned CSH, have published the chart below highlighting the criteria which can no longer be enforced through the planning process. Although the changes to the criteria do not have any implications in terms of species or habitat protection, the emphasis on ecological sustainability has changed significantly.
The Code will still be required for certain projects, including affordable and social housing and for projects where planning permission granted prior to 27th March 2015 stipulated CSH as a planning condition. Meantime, developers may choose to use the Code voluntarily to demonstrate their sustainability credentials.
The BREEAM standard for non-housing construction projects is not affected and may still be required by LAs.
BRE are introducing a new standard: the Home Quality Mark. This includes objectives to maintain and enhance ecological value:
"In order to create an attractive environment it is important to maintain existing local ecological character and enhance this wherever possible. This will help to preserve the character and value of the local landscape and will potentially contribute to the value and appeal of the area and community."
Specifically, under the Home Quality Mark, developers will need to show that:
ECOSA have an established record of ecological assessments and recommendations for various construction codes and are ready to support clients through mandatory or voluntary accreditation programmes.