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Integrating sustainability within planning


Checklist for developers, which will help you to assess and sustainability much more easily and readily into development.

Ensuring planning applications consider sustainability issues from the design and pre-planning stages of development is an essential component to reducing building costs, while also ensuring the development running costs remain low in the longer term. The objective is to achieve low carbon buildings, which is a fundamental contribution to achieving sustainable development and to tackling the climate emergency.

Creating buildings that generate fewer carbon emissions is not only socially and environmentally desirable, it can have big economic advantages too. Developments that consider sustainability from the outset are often cheaper to build and more pleasant to occupy.

A study led by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that sustainable buildings can earn higher rents and prices, attract tenants and buyers more quickly, cut tenant turnover and cost less to operate. Buildings constructed in line with sustainability principles are considered good long-term investments because they cost less to operate and are often more pleasant to occupy and capable of coping with increasingly severe weather events.

Sustainability Assessment

Policy 29 (Sustainable Design) within the County Durham Plan requires the completion of a Sustainability Assessment for all major residential and non-residential proposals. A major residential schemes is one that has 10 or more homes, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more. In order to help the assessment, a Sustainability Checklist has been developed which must be completed by applicants of major development proposals. This requirement is also listed within the Planning Application Validation Checklist  

The checklist will help applicants consider the potential effects of their proposal and encourage implementation of measures which ensure better conservation of energy and resources during construction and over the lifetime of the development. While applicants of major proposals are required to complete the checklist, we encourage all applicants to consider the sustainability checklist as best practice.

The completion of the checklist will:

  • enable the planning case officer (and any other interested party) to see how sustainability issues have been considered and addressed
  • speed up planning decision
  • enable the planning department to monitor the extent to which developments in County Durham are sustainable
  • help applicants embed sustainability principles into new development

Instructions regarding the completion of the checklist are contained within the  Icon for pdf Sustainability Checklist for Developers (PDF, 523.1kb) . Please contact us if you need help with this document.

Contact us
Sustainability Carbon and Climate Change
03000 265 545
Our address is:
  • 5th Floor
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ