New building will not meet CO2 standards, council doesn’t mind

One of the main grounds for rebuilding Marlborough School is the poor energy efficiency performance of the old building, we have been told repeatedly.

It’s therefore a surprise to find that the proposed new school fails to meet the London Plan CO2 reduction requirements by a considerable margin.

“Overall the proposal is expected to deliver a reduction of 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in regulated emissions, compared to a 2010 Building Regulations compliant development,” says the position of the Greater London Authority on the redevelopment project. (the document can be seen here, scroll to page 114)

According to the GLA, this is equivalent to an overall saving of 2%, which would fall short of the current 25% reduction target for non-domestic buildings in London Plan Policy 5.2.

The RBKC council are willing to compromise, however, as they have a huge financial stake in the project. A private developer is about to carry out construction works worth £26.5 mln for them, also freeing up expensive land off Marlborough school’s playground for commercial use.

“For the Marlborough school and commercial building site the Mayor has asked the local authority to consider securing a financial contribution in lieu of the shortfall in carbon savings,” the Planning and Development Committee report says.

“The Borough does not have a carbon off-set fund nor does it have any policy on which to base a contribution. A contribution would not be necessary to make the development acceptable and would not accord with s122 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations,” the report continues.

And indeed it would be awkward if the Borough were to seek compensation for the inadequate energy performance of a building owned by themselves, wouldn’t it?

Just don’t let anyone tell you our Victorian school is being sacrificed for the sake of cleaner air and curbing climate change. The real motivation is profit.