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New circular economy guidance for London to tackle embodied carbon and reduce construction waste

The Mayor of London has published ground-breaking guidance that will help tackle embodied carbon in new buildings and reduce construction waste.

The London Plan Guidance Circular Economy Statements puts circular economy principles at the heart of designing new buildings, requiring buildings that can more easily be dismantled and adapted over their lifetime. It treats building materials as resources rather than waste, and puts in place a clear hierarchy, prioritising the retention of existing structures above demolition, where this is the more sustainable and appropriate approach.

The guidance outlines six circular economy (CE) principles, which should be a fundamental part of the building design process, as follows:

  1. building in layers – ensuring that different parts of the building are accessible and can be maintained and replaced where necessary

  2. designing out waste – ensuring that waste reduction is planned in from project inception to completion, including consideration of standardised components, modular build, and reuse of secondary products and materials

  3. designing for longevity

  4. designing for adaptability or flexibility

  5. designing for disassembly

  6. using systems, elements or materials that can be reused and recycled.

The guidance applies to the largest developments in London that are referable to the Mayor, as required by London Plan Policy 2021 SI 7, however boroughs are encouraged to apply the policies for smaller developments.

The guidance was shaped by a range of individuals and organisations including CIRCuIT London partners following a consultation on the draft guidance which took place between October 2020 to January 2021.

Read the Circular Economy Statement Guidance here.

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