Climate Emergency

Consultation on draft Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

On 18 June 2019 Hounslow Council declared a climate emergency and made the commitment to work with others locally to reduce carbon emissions across the Borough as quickly as possible, as well as reducing the Council’s own carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ (where any remaining emissions are offset) by 2030. In July 2020 we published the Climate Emergency Action Plan which set out our plans to deliver these ambitious targets.

Now, as part of this action plan, the Council has prepared new draft guidance for developers who build homes, offices and other buildings in the borough, on how to ensure every new or refurbished building has net-zero carbon emissions and is suitable for the way the climate is expected to change in the future.  This guidance is called the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

What we are proposing

The draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides guidance for developers on how they can deliver new and refurbished buildings which are sustainable, zero carbon and adapted to the changing climate, supporting delivery of policies in the adopted local development plan – notably London Plan Policy S12 (Minimising greenhouse gas emissions) and Local Plan policy EQ1 (Energy and carbon reduction).  The guidance includes:

  1. Site assessment – sustainable design must begin with an assessment of site landscape, green and blue infrastructure, previous development and other characteristics.
  2. Development layout and form – this must respond to the site assessment to minimise the need for heating and cooling, enable ventilation and make good use of existing site assets.
  3. Building fabric and services - should be designed to minimise operational energy use to be as close as possible to zero carbon onsite.
  4. External space – designed to support biodiversity, reduce risks of flooding, overheating and air pollution, encourage active travel and provide a pleasant environment for occupants.
  • Detailed guidance for developers on ensuring that the fabric and services of new buildings minimise operational energy use, maximise renewable energy generation and support adaptation for the future climate. This advice aligns with the London Plan’s Energy Hierarchy:
  1. Be Lean – minimise energy needed for heating, cooling and lighting
  2. Be Clean – use heat from a low carbon source (preferably communal or district heating), and avoid fossil fuels
  3. Be Green – maximise the generation of onsite renewable energy (e.g., photovoltaic panels)
  4. Be Seen – monitor, verify and report on energy performance, to assess compliance and inform future projects.
  • A checklist of sustainability criteria and suggested standards for developers.  This covers both building fabric, and wider sustainability topics covered in Part A2 (Common Considerations) of the emerging Borough Character, Sustainability and Design Codes SPD. Following consultation, it is intended to integrate the checklist into the Council’s validation requirements for applications, where it can be used to guide discussions between applicants and the Council’s Development Management Team.  For the purposes of this consultation, the checklist is included as an annex to the Climate Change SPD and is illustrative only – that is, it is not interactive and does not yet include checkboxes.

This document also sets out intention to increase the carbon offset price to be paid for new major developments, from £95 per tonne of CO2 (emmitted by the building over a 30-year period) to at least £350 / tCO2. This proposed increase is based on evidence published in the recent Delivering Net Zero Carbon report, and will be subject to viability testing and further consultation.

The draft guidance document is available to review here: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

How will we use the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document

The final version of this Supplementary Planning Document, will be used in the assessment of planning applications for all new development in the borough.  As such, it will also help to inform the development and implementation of the programmes set out in the Corporate Plan (adopted July 2022), specifically areas such as Low Carbon Neighbourhoods, Liveable Places, the Asset Review and Localities Review.

It will also contribute to Hounslow’s regeneration work – you can read more in the Hounslow: Prosperity and Place document, which sets out the Council’s approach and framework for the regeneration and economic growth of the Borough, which was approved by Hounslow Cabinet on 11 January 2022. 


Hounslow Council wants to work with communities to enable growth, enhance our spaces and improve sustainability through good building design. We therefore invited your feedback on how the draft Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document influences new development to support those aims, through a consultation which ran from 16 June 2023 until 14 August 2023.

The feedback gathered during this consultation stage will be used to improve the SPD.  A refined and updated version of the SPD which will then be presented for a second consultation later in 2023, alongside a summary of the responses received in the first consultation.  It is anticipated that the final version of the SPD will be adopted in early 2024.   

If you have any questions about the consultation process, please contact the Spatial Planning Team at, or call them on 020 8583 3419.

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