In addition to the problems of adapting to and mitigating future climate change, Westminster faces local environmental challenges which are affecting us now. The urban heat island effect leads to overheating and poor air quality is a problem across Westminster. The design of our buildings must evolve to tackle these issues as well as reduce water and energy consumption, minimise flood risk, and protect and enhance wildlife.
Through the development of sustainability policies in the Local Development Framework the council will ensure that future development is environmentally sustainable by setting standards that are both achievable and realistic for development in Westminster.
The council has produced a sustainable design brochure, which shows examples of sustainable design measures including refurbished listed buildings that achieve high environmental standards. These demonstrate how our city’s rich heritage can serve the future as well as it has the past.
Retention and reuse of our existing building stock can help in the fight against climate change. With 75% of the city in a conservation area, the retention and sensitive upgrade of existing building stock to improve environmental sustainability is vital. The council is developing some best practice case studies to demonstrate the kinds of energy efficiency measures that are possible when retrofitting buildings which are typical of the historic Westminster context. We have also produced guidance on retrofitting historic buildings.