The green, green, practice of Merton

Other London Borough’s will be green with envy, as Merton Council has been commended by Friends of the Earth for introducing the most innovative green practice in London.

Merton introduced a pioneering new green energy policy called E9, which requires new developments in the borough to generate their own energy. The new planning condition requires all new commercial premises over 1000 square metres to generate ten per cent of their power from renewable sources.

The London Borough is the first in the country to introduce such a policy. It emerged from the Council’s review of its Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and was strongly supported by the Inspector at the public inquiry.

The idea was so good that it has already spread. The Mayor of London included a similar policy in his Plan for London and several other London Boroughs have redrafted their UDPs to follow Merton’s lead.

In response to the E9 policy, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (C.I.P.D) have agreed to generate their own energy in their new five-storey office building in Wimbledon Town Centre. This is the first development that Merton has sought to apply its pioneering new planning condition to.

Friends of the Earth chose Merton as the winner, above all other London Boroughs. Other schemes included door to door recycling, construction of a ‘green’ bridge and park improvements, an air quality action plan, and plans to recycle all green waste within the same borough.

Paul de Silva, Friends of the Earth’s London Campaigns Co-ordinator, said in their publication ‘London Alert’: “Merton’s bold plan to involve businesses in saving energy and generating clean energy is the clear winner, and an example of the kind of progressive policies that other councils should follow’.

Councillor Russell Makin, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning, said: ” I am delighted that Friends of the Earth have given our E9 green policy the recognition it deserves. We are proud that we are setting an example for planning authorities all over the country.”

Councillor Su Assinen, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The Council is committed to promoting development that is environmentally sustainable. The new policy requirement is an important practical step forward to achieving this.”

Merton has also set aside £50,000 for a grant scheme to help new and existing business buy and install solar panels and energy saving equipment.

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