Welsh public buildings ‘must be greener’

8 Jun 10
The Welsh Government has published planning guidance for greener new buildings just as the public sector in Wales comes under fire for failing to minimise the environmental effects of its existing properties
By Paul Dicken

08 June 2010

The Welsh Government has published planning guidance for greener new buildings just as the public sector in Wales comes under fire for failing to minimise the environmental effects of its existing properties.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson published technical advice for sustainable buildings on June 4 and a second edition of the Planning Policy Wales framework on June 8.

The guidance for planners will require most new buildings in Wales to have 31% fewer carbon emissions than is currently allowed.

They will also have to use less water and more sustainable materials.

Davidson said: ‘The main driver for this consolidated version of Planning Policy Wales is to further embed the need to tackle climate change into the planning system.’

She said failure to address climate change would make planning for sustainable development impossible.

Roisin Willmott, director of the Royal Town Planning Institute Cymru, said the RTPI ‘very much supported’ the approach in Wales, which looked at making buildings more efficient to run, as well as using renewable energy.

The Welsh Government is aiming to reduce emissions in devolved areas by 3% from 2011, but the Wales Audit Office has warned that many existing public sector buildings are not being effectively maintained.

In a June 3 report, the WAO said most land and buildings management in the NHS, councils and central government did not provide value for money.

The maintenance backlog in Wales is estimated to be £2bn, of which £1.3bn is in local government.

Auditor general Gillian Body said: ‘Effective land and buildings management can support better service delivery, improve public and staff safety, reduce operating costs and minimise their environmental impact.’

 

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