Council goes international with Merton Rule
Published:  28 April, 2009

LONDON: Merton Council welcomed members from the Spanish Federation of Local Authorities (FEMP) to the borough recently to share the merits of the Merton Rule and the future of monitoring and researching carbon dioxide emissions.

Representatives from Madrid, Catalonia, San Sebastian and Valladolid were keen to visit Merton, home of the renewable energy planning policy the Merton Rule, to find out more about Merton's green initiatives, the practicalities of the Merton Rule and what the future is for reducing carbon emissions in the built environment.

Questions raised at the seminar organised by Merton Council focused on the implementation of the Merton Rule and the challenges of meeting stringent government demands for all new housing to be zero carbon by 2016.

Merton's visitors were then taken to the Big Yellow Storage Box in Morden and shown the renewable energy monitoring system and database called the Energy-DataGauge which the council is piloting there.

The system will enable the council to monitor buildings to check they are being constructed to meet the environmental standards of the Merton Rule and assess how well the renewable energy systems work. The group then went to one of Merton's local businesses to look at the wind turbines on the site.

The visit comes after Merton Council unveiled its monitoring system last year at its national environment conference held at the Civic Centre, Morden. The council is developing the database with UK renewable energy and sustainability consultancy Metropolis Green to measure how much renewable energy is generated from buildings across the borough.

Adrian Hewitt from Metropolis Green gave a presentation entitled The Merton Rule - the power of municipal planning. He talked about how the inclusion of a building 'birth certificate' as part of the monitoring system will help councils keep track of the performance of renewable energy installations such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Developers will have to submit a 'birth certificate' for their new buildings as part of the planning requirements. The certificate will detail the type of development, its predicted CO2 emissions and the details of any onsite renewable energy systems.

The Merton Rule planning policy developed by Merton Council requires all new buildings to cut CO2 emissions by 10% using renewable energy on site.

Merton developed the rule and adopted it in 2003. Its impact was so great that the then Mayor of London and many councils across the UK have implemented the rule. It is now an accepted element of national planning strategy.

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