Over 230 local authorities across the UK have declared a Climate Emergency and key local leaders are putting increasing pressure on central government for meaningful Climate action. Considering this appetite for change, the Commercial Playbook, published today, shares policy recommendations for local authorities for new non-domestic buildings, such as offices, retail and industrial sheds. Its intention is to fill the gap left by national policy, which is not currently delivering change at the pace that is required to meet the UK’s environmental commitments.  

Although some local authorities are already demonstrating leadership through ambitious policy, we believe more assistance across the board is needed to drive up sustainability. Indeed, UKGBC advocates for support for net-zero development across the country. This would enable local authorities to benefit from shared learning, common resources, and mutual confidence, while providing stability for industry on the requirements across different regions. 

Considering the individual requirements of different parts of the country is crucial when following the advice in this playbook, so this collaborative document will allow local authorities and built environment professionals to work together on the best route forward.   

Within the playbook there are minimum and advanced – or stretch – requirements that are designed to reduce embodied carbon, reduce energy use and ensure low carbon energy sources, amongst other themes. The recommendations are designed for commercial, non-domestic, buildings – for example office developments.  

This report has been drafted by UKGBC with the assistance of the partners from Lendlease, Rockwool Bennetts Associates, Bruntwood, Landsec, and Tuffin Ferraby Taylor.  

Simon McWhirter, Director of Communications, Policy and Places UKGBC: 

“UKGBC’s Commercial Playbook is not just a useful resource, but a live tool for Local Authorities to use in progressive policy-making for new commercial development. It sits alongside our other policy playbooks in providing guidance for accelerating the transition to a Net Zero built environment at the local level – helping elevate ambition and shifting that into detailed delivery. 

A key part of UKGBC’s membership, Local Authorities have a crucial role to play in ensuring a just transition towards net zero, and their leaders are working hard to push for change. For many it’s clear that central government actions can be enhanced and amplified by truly aspirational approaches at a local level – driving great impact. Our playbook provides both minimum and stretch recommendations that recognise the diversity of local authorities and the great sustainability work that’s already been done.” 

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