Carbon reduction

The council's Sustainable Development team takes the lead on carbon reduction from local authority operations including council offices and community buildings, schools, leisure centres, transport and street lighting.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Carbon Management Plan, developed in 2009 and refreshed and updated in 2016, commits the council to a 60 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 (on 2007 levels). You can download a copy of the plan. The plan was updated in 2016 to include a comprehensive roadmap to achieving this target and setting out a number of key carbon reduction projects.

Some of the projects that are underway in the borough at present include:

  • adoption of the Mayor of London’s REFIT programme to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions in council offices, community centres and libraries by 20 per cent
  • a phased programme to replace all of the street lighting in Tower Hamlets with high efficiency LED lighting, which could save the council £2.7million by 2020
  • engagement with primary and secondary schools in the borough to save a possible £1.5million in fuel costs annually, which can instead be directed into frontline educational services.

In total, the Carbon Management Plan could save the council more than £20million by 2020, as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Carbon reduction, local authority operations:

The council is required to report on greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on an annual basis.

Past and current annual reports are available to download:


If you have any questions regarding the above reports or about carbon reduction in Tower Hamlets or, have any ideas about how we could stop energy wastage in your local school or community centre, please contact:

David Esdaile
Tel: 020 7364 6649

T.H.E Community Power

As fuel prices rise, T.H.E Community Power, the council’s energy co-operative, could help save money on your gas and electricity bill by securing a cheaper energy deal. If you would like to know more about the scheme, please visit the T.H.E Community Power page or contact:

Abdul Monnan
Freephone: 0800 50 88 364 

Carbon reductions planning advice

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets requires all developments to achieve the highest standards of design and construction to improve the environmental performance of developments and to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Development proposals should demonstrate that sustainable design standards are integral to the proposal, including its construction and operation and ensure that they are considered at the beginning of the design process.

Policy requirements

At a national level, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that planning plays a key role in delivering reductions to greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to climate change. The NPPF also notes that planning supports the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. At a strategic level, the climate change policies as set out in Chapter 5 of the London Plan 2011, London Borough of Tower Hamlets Core Strategy (SO24 and SP11) and the Managing Development Document Policy DM29 collectively require developments to make the fullest contribution to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and to minimise carbon dioxide emissions.

The London Plan sets out the mayor’s energy hierarchy for development to be designed to:

  • use less energy (be lean)
  • supply energy efficiently (be clean) and
  • use renewable energy (be green).

The applicant must ensure that they comply with Policy 5.6 of the London Plan and install an energy systems in accordance with the following hierarchy:

  1. Connect to existing heating or cooling networks
  2. Site wide CHP
  3. Communal heating and cooling.

The Managing Development Document Policy DM29 includes CO2 emissions reduction targets against the Building Regulations, to be achieved through the cumulative steps of the Energy Hierarchy. Policy DM29 also requires sustainable design assessment tools to be used to ensure the development has maximised use of climate change mitigation measures. At present the current interpretation of this policy is to require all residential developments to be supported by a Sustainability Statement  sustainability statement identifying how the scheme is responding to the GLA Sustainable Design and Construction SPG April 2014 ( This is to ensure the highest standards of sustainable design in new dwellings and climate change mitigation measures are maximised within developments.

For the non-residential development the planning application submission needs to be accompanied by a BREEAM pre-assessment demonstrating that BREEAM Excellent rating is achievable for the scheme.

Also, Policy SO3 of the Core Strategy (2010) seeks to incorporate the principle of sustainable development, including limiting carbon emissions from development, delivering decentralised energy and renewable energy technologies and minimising the use of natural resources. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Core Strategy Policy SP11 requires all new developments to provide a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through on-site renewable energy generating technologies.

The Managing Development Document (policy DM29 on CO2 emissions and BREEAM) is available on the Local Plan.

Residential carbon reduction targets

LBTH Policy DM29 requires major residential developments to achieve zero carbon (with at least 45 per cent reduction achieved through on-site measures). The remaining regulated carbon emissions (to 100 per cent) are to be offset through a cash in lieu contribution in accordance with our carbon offset solutions study. The study identifies the scope of the fund and types of projects to be delivered.

The carbon off-set price of £60 per tonne of carbon dioxide for a period of 30 years is to be applied (i.e. £1,800 per tonne).

Non-residential carbon reduction target

For non-residential development the council will continue to apply the existing 45 per cent CO2 emission reduction requirement against Building Regulations 2013. This will require developers to split out the energy loads for the non-residential and residential elements, within the energy strategy, to enable accurate carbon offsetting payments to be calculated for the different uses.

The submitted energy strategy must follow the GLA energy assessment guidance for developers.

Carbon Offsetting Formula

Carbon Offset Contribution =

‘Carbon gap’ (Tonnes of CO2) x Price of Carbon (£) x 30 (years)

‘Carbon Gap’ is the amount of carbon that remains when applying the policy target reduction in carbon emissions beyond that required by Part L of the Building Regulations. The percentage target applied will need to be the most up to date reduction target specified in either the Local Plan or London Plan at the time.

The Current policy requirement for non-residential development is a 45 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions (DM29) and the calculation is therefore:

(T-(R x 0.55)) x Y x Z


T is the energy efficient design baseline which comprises the regulated CO2 emissions assuming the development complied with Part L of the building regulations using building regulations approved compliance software (see references to SAP and SBEM below) following application of Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green measures.

R = the baseline being Part L of the Building Regulations Compliant Development. This comprises the regulated CO2 emissions assuming the development complied with Part L of the Building Regulations 2013 using building regulations approved compliance software (see references to SAP and SBEM below).

Y = the number of years for which the contribution is payable, being (30) years.

Z = £60 per tonne of carbon dioxide, being the cost of carbon per tonne taken from paragraph 10 of the Mayor's published ”Energy planning: Greater London Authority Guidance on preparing energy assessments” (March 2016).

SBEM means Simplified Building Energy Model being a software tool developed by the Building Research Industry for the Department for Communities and Local Government that provides an analysis of a building's energy consumption.

SAP means the Department of Energy & Climate Change's Standard Assessment Procedure published 22 January 2013 which is the methodology used by the Government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of dwellings.

For further information please contact