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1 West Midlands Sustainability Checklist George Marsh Chair Sustainability West Midlands

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West Midlands Sustainability Checklist. George Marsh Chair Sustainability West Midlands. Contents. SWM Background to Checklist How does it work ? How is it Used ? Uptake Review and updating of the Checklist. SWM is the sustainability adviser for the leaders of the West Midlands. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Page 1: West Midlands Sustainability Checklist


West Midlands Sustainability Checklist

George Marsh


Sustainability West Midlands

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• Background to Checklist• How does it work ?• How is it Used ?• Uptake• Review and updating of the Checklist

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Who we are

SWM is the sustainability adviser for the leaders of the West Midlands.

– Government recognised ‘regional sustainability champion body’– Our Board is private sector led and cross-sector representative– We are a not-for-profit company, that works with our members in

the business, public and voluntary sectors.

Our role is to act as a catalyst for change through :

– advice to leaders

– developing practical solutions with our members (e

– sharing success and good practice (Newsletters, Meetings)

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Our Vision

By 2020 businesses and communities are thriving in a West Midlands that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.

By 2012 West Midlands leaders are clear on what this looks like, have set milestones and their organisations are making strong progress.


‘a low carbon vision’ begins to set out what is possible now in terms of energy, transport, construction, demographic change to

reach 2020…...

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Advice to leaders

– Regional Economic Strategy – ‘Connecting to success’ – the UK first Low Carbon Regional Economic Strategy.

SWM role to review annual progress across all low carbon aspects

– Strategic Lead on coordinating others’ actions in the Economic Strategy around uptake of good practice in the home and workplace of energy efficiency, new technologies, and promoting good practice

– Evidence to recent review of Spatial Strategy – need clear carbon reduction targets linked to extra action required at regional level to meet 2020 targets ‘the carbon gap’

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Developing practical solutions with our members

– Sustainability Housing Action Programme – work with partners to establish scale of challenge for retrofit and to promote pilot solutions

– Business Futures – work with a range of large businesses and support networks to share good practice in resource efficiency and innovation to inform future business support

– New Green Deal – work with members and existing networks to identify good practice for linking employment schemes with green economy opportunities

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West Midlands Sustainability Checklist

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Checklist background

National Sustainability Checklist for Developments:

• A National Sustainability Checklist was commissioned by ODPM, supported by WWF and devised by BRE to promote high quality development that would support sustainable communities.

• The national Checklist was published in 2002

• It was intended to be a practical tool to assist in planning decisions.

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Why a regional checklist?

• Developers asking for more commonality.

• Planning policy is created at regional level and there are regional differences.

• Regional planning policy now forms part of Local Development Frameworks.

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How the Checklist was prepared

• Derived from draft RSS and Regional Housing Strategy for the region, national planning policy, regional sustainable development policy

• Incorporates other guidance from statutory bodies.• Development managed by a steering group comprising a

number of local authorities, the Regional Assembly GOWM and AWM

• Considerable assistance from a range of other organisations.

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Relationship with other policy

WM Regional Spatial


Integrated Regional Framework

European and National Policy

WM Regional Sustainability Checklist for


Local Development Framework

References other tools- Ecohomes,BREEAM, CSHUrban Design Compendium, Design and Access Statements …

Tailored Local Sustainability Checklist for Developments(optional SPD)


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The Checklist is a website based tool

• An online tool to aid decision makers in the development of sustainable communities:

www.checklistwestmidlands.co.uk• All users have individual, secure accounts in which they

can store multiple developments..• The website is designed to be intuitive and user friendly,

holding all the information required to complete a checklist and explaining the questions.

• The Frequently Asked Questions hold a considerable amount of useful information

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Coverage of Checklist

• Issues are arranged in 8 categories:

– Climate change and energy

– Community– Placemaking– Transport and Movement– Ecology– Resources– Business– Buildings

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CoverageClimate Change &

EnergyPlacemaking Resources Transport &


Flood Risk PPS 25Flash FloodingVentilation & coolingHeat Island effectWater recyclingEnergy strategy% RenewablesSustainable heatingEase of RetrofitInfrastructure expansionEnergy infrastructureSmart meters


Community involvementSustainable lifestyle infoCommunity facilities

Site characteristics% open spaceRe-use of buildingsDesign statementLandscaping schemeRetain area characterPhysical/visual linksPublic realmEase of navigation‘Active frontage’Defensible spacesLocal characterAccess to green spaceOutdoor recreationAdaptable buildingsInclusive communityDiverse communitiesSecure by DesignStreet lightingSecurity lighting


Ecological surveyImprove ecolog valueWildllife corridorsTree/shrub mix

Heritage preservationLow impact materialsLocally reclaimedLocal sourcingWater efficiency strategyWater pollutionWater efficiency

Waste recyclingNoise Impact

Minimise landfill


Complement existing businessesPromote bus growthAttract inward investmentConnectivity & communicationCreate jobsContribute to Regeneration

Public Transport : Corridor Frequency Waiting facilitiesVirtual CommunicationsCar Parking standardsFlexible parking spaceReduction of HGVsBicycle network

Reduction of car travel through local facilities

Vehicle speedsPedestrian priorities

Reduce dependency on cars (car clubs)


BREEAM or Code for SH Rating

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How the Checklist works• Each category comprises a number of questions. The

exact question set depends on the size of the development. (70 questions across all categories).

• Each question has 3 possible responses to chose from, correlating to best, good and minimum practice.

• The developer provides a written justification (evidence) for the response they give – an audit trail.

• Because of the generic nature of the question sets the developer also has the opportunity to select ‘not applicable’

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Using the Checklist

Each question has a choice of three benchmarks.

– Minimum,

– Good Practice,

– Best Practice

(not applicable)

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Example - Q5 of 13 in Climate Change

What % of domestic water use in operation will be provided for by rain water collection and/or grey water recycling systems ?

Best : >50%

Good : 25 – 50%

Minimum : LA planning standard

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Example - Q3 of 20 in Place Making

What % of the existing buildings on site will be re-used/refurbished ?

Best : 100 %

Good : > 50%

Minimum : LA planning standard

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Using the Checklist

The developer provides a written justification (evidence) for the benchmark they have selected – an audit trail.

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Using the Checklist

Questions within each category are weighted individually - shown graphically

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Using the Checklist

An overall percentage score is awarded for each of the eight categories.

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Using the Checklist

User can monitor progress and benchmarks awarded

Users can see:• when a question has not met the minimum standard

•is not applicable

•Has not been answered for further interrogation.

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How would the Checklist be used on a site proposal:

1. Design team use before design commences to identify the issues that may need to be addressed.

2. Pre-application discussions if required to cover:• Questions deemed not applicable to this site• Any specific targets• S106 trades

3. Use during stakeholder consultation exercises as common basis for discussion.

4. Iterative use during design process to monitor performance and make adjustments to design if required prior to submission.

5. Once satisfied with performance, submit with planning application.

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What the Checklist does for Planners

• Combines information about the sustainability of the proposal in one place.

• Provides graphic overview of sustainability performance of proposal – detail can be checked if required.

• Common format helps build familiarity and therefore speed in dealing with applications.

• Helps the planner by indicating what constitutes “good” and “best” practice on each issue.

• Helps planning authorities to deliver their responsibilities under the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act, Planning Policy Statement 1 etc.

• Can be modified to fit local circumstance if required (Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment).

• Provides data for the Annual Monitoring Report.

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What the Checklist doesn’t do:

It does not:• Make decisions. It’s a tool for decision makers, not a

decision making tool.

• Replace Environmental Impact Assessments or other statutory requirements. However data from other Assessments can be used to respond to Checklist questions if there is overlap.

• Circumvent planning policy i.e. development plan allocations.

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Checklist uptake

• West Midlands Checklist and website tool were launched in July 2007.

• Training offered in 2008

• Wolverhampton City Council used the Checklist as the basis of their Sustainable Communities SPD – launched summer 2008

• Website statistics show increasing use but registration of projects varies widely across the region

• A number of local authorities are referring developers to the Checklist, have used the Checklist as a validation criterion, will be using the Checklist to inform sustainable development SPDs

• Checklist included in draft RSS policy as a tool to support consistent, transparent decision making and better outcomes from development– result of EiP expected autumn 2009

• AWM putting together programme of awareness raising and training around the Checklist and its role in supporting delivery of planning policy objectives in response to queries by local authorities

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Checklist review and updating

1. Regional invitation to review the Checklist attended by local authorities and other regional bodies with an interest in planning – Feb 2009

2. Consultation on a range of technical issues including inclusion, Building for Life continues

3. Imminent changes to:– Website functionality– Wording to make application to non-residential schemes more obvious– Inclusion of Building for Life in placemaking section

4. Longer term:– inclusion of ‘missing’ issues such as air quality and tranquillity– Fundamental review of the logical sequence of questions – topic based as currently or

timeline according to development design

5. Pilot revised Checklist with the development sector

6. Aim to keep consistency with other regional checklists and the newly launched BREEAM Communities

7. Develop a regional awareness raising and training programme

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Get in touch

Executive Director

[email protected] tel: 0121 202 3265


Sustainability West Midlands

Level 4 Millennium Point

Curzon Street

Birmingham B4 7XG

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Thank You

Questions ?