Dear Editor,

Your article ‘Concerns over climate targets’ (Gazette, February 24) reminds us that in 2019, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency, aiming to make our borough net-zero carbon by 2030. On-site survey works have begun at Manydown, ahead of the construction of new homes in 2023.

The Design Council describes Building for Life 12 as ‘the industry standard for the design of new housing developments.’ So one might reasonably assume that the [Basingstoke] Council has worked actively with Urban&Civic to ensure these principles are adopted. Its ‘Manydown Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document’ (December 2016) cites sustainable construction; renewable and low carbon technologies; and passive solar design.

READ MORE: Council unsure whether they can meet 2025 climate emergency targets

Yet the clear emphasis from the available documentation on Manydown is on the big picture: landscaping, physical layouts; habitats; transport flows. There is little on the appropriate standards for the design and construction of the houses themselves, or on the specifics necessary to achieve its aims.

Buildings are a significant culprit of carbon emissions and reportedly account for 35 per cent of total global energy consumption. Passivhaus is a tried and tested solution, delivering net-zero ready buildings optimised for a decarbonised grid and for the health and wellbeing of residents. With a mechanical ventilation system, minimal energy is needed for heating and cooling.

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Such schemes exist all over the UK, for example in Plymouth (Primrose Park), and the 2019 Stirling Prize-winning Goldsmith Street (Norwich) project: both are social housing schemes. Let us ensure that Manydown leads the way in environmental building solutions.

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