David Lock Associates on Net Zero planning

CGI of Waterbeach new settlement development, north of Cambridge (Urban & Civic for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation)

Planning firm David Lock Associates joined our 'Sustainable Cities' forum this month, to discuss whether there were still obstacles in the planning system that were preventing a move towards greater sustainability in housing developments.

Partner Heather Pugh spoke along side Cllr Ian Courts, Portfolio Lead for the Environment and Climate Change at the West Midlands Combined Authority, Jenna Bates, Sustainability Manager at Kier Group and Michael Swiszczowski, Director at architects Chapman Taylor.

Heather Pugh talked about clients' need for certainty and how sustainability can be interpreted in different ways across various developments:

'There is a very interesting set of issues around zero carbon from the planning perspective and it occurs across a whole variety of scales. How you apply some regulations around built fabric and materials and where we are putting in buildings over the next few years, are just some of the questions.

'Clients would like certainty and also the question answered on what are we aiming for? Sustainability means different things at every stage of planning and I worry that the regulations might be trying to crack something we don't need to do. In my opinion the building regulations are the best way to deal with sustainability. There are wider issues around sustainable development, for instance, transport and new settlements, and the planning system cannot regulate that according to the scale of developments that are taking place.

Heather was asked for her rea