Heritage and the Climate Crisis: July and August 2022 News

A bumper edition of the news and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the months of July and August.

News from Heritage Declares

Recording of Heritage Declares Webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon

In the month of July, we hosted our first webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon. Thank you to all those who attended. If you want to catch up here is the webinar recording.

To find out more about the recent developments in the M&S case refer to the press release by SAVE and please consider donating to their Just Giving Page to help fund the campaign.

Other news from Heritage Declares

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 8th September at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here. We’d love to see more people!

We are also still looking for submissions for our Case Studies page on the website, thank you for all the submissions so far! If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Demolition of Non-Designated Heritage Asset Approved by City of York Council

Bluebeck House and semidetached cottages (site outlined in green. (Image: rightmove.co.uk)

The demolition of Bluebeck House, formerly the laundry serving York’s Clifton Hospital, as well as two semi detached cottages, and their replacement with a 72 bed care home has been approved by City of York Council.

Developers Torsion Care have had their scheme approved despite the structures being the last remnants of the buildings associated with the already demolished Clifton Hospital. The Committee Report on the application acknowledges that Bluebeck House is on a draft Local List held by York Civic Trust, and is considered to be a non-designated heritage asset. However it asserts that the List can be given no statutory weight as it has not been approved by the Council. Conversely, though the project represents “inappropriate development in the Green Belt” , the intention of the draft Local Plan is to remove the site from the Green Belt, and thus the Report can allow a special circumstance (as per paragraph 147 of the NPPF) to apply, outweighing any “inappropriateness.”

Further justification for demolition hinges upon the difficulty of achieving the required carbon savings through energy efficiency whilst maintaining a “historic building.” However, throughout the planning documents no consideration has been given to the carbon embodied in the existing building or to an assessment of the replacement building’s environmental performance.

More department stores in England may be given protected status

Sheffield’s former John Lewis and Cole Brothers building was given Grade-II listed status earlier this month. Photograph: Nick Cockman/Alamy

Historic England announces review of landmark buildings amid closures as campaigners call for ‘creative reinvention’. The announcement from Historic England comes amid widespread closures, compounded by the pandemic, economic turmoil and the rise of online shopping. This news comes after Historic England listed the Sheffield YRM-designed John Lewis store earlier this year.

Court orders UK government to explain how net zero policies will reach targets.

Image: Matthias Heyde

Following a successful legal challenge brought by individual litigant Joanna Wheatley, the Good Law ProjectClient Earth and Friends of the Earth, The Hon. Mr Justice Holgate determined in the High Court on 18th July 2022 that the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy (NZS) did not meet the requirements of the Climate Change Act (CCA) 2008.

The CCA sets the target for the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050 and was amended in 2019 to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline. The Net Zero Strategy was presented to Parliament in October 2019 (just ahead of COP 26) to fulfil Section 14 of the CCA: the government’s “duty  to report on proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets.”

Friends of the Earth have provided a briefing on the judgement. In summary, three grounds of challenge were pursued in relation the CCA. Mr Justice Holgate allowed the claim for judicial review on two of them, finding that the NZS would only achieve up to 95% of the reductions required to meet the sixth carbon budget and that this information was not included in the NZS presented to Parliament. Furthermore, the risk to delivery of even 95% of the required carbon reductions had not been considered by the Minister signing off the report.

The High Court has ruled that the government must submit a report that is compliant with Section 14 of the CCA by 31st March 2023 and sets down criteria which must be included in future Section14 reports.

Architects’ Journal Retrofit Live

AJ Retrofit Live, taking place on 23rd November 2022 at 155 Bishopsgate EC2, is a brand-new event centred around the Architects’ Journal’s well-established awards programme and RetroFirst Campaign.

The AJ Retrofit Awards were established in 2010 and are the only awards focusing on retrofit design. The AJ RetroFirst campaign, prioritising retrofit over demolition and rebuild as well as calling for system change and political reform,  has changed the conversation about demolition and reuse of existing buildings since its launch in 2019.

This subject matter will be brought to life at Retrofit Live on November 23. This unique event will bring together architects, their built environment colleagues, developers, clients and lawmakers to identify the best retrofit and circular economy practices and discuss the transformational changes needed to upgrade the built environment in line with whole-life carbon principles.

The packed programme includes, amongst other topics, a panel discussion around retrofitting the UK’s housing stock, a presentation on The Joy of Retrofitting and a panel discussion entitled Breathing New Life into Historic Buildings. Retrofit Live will also feature a thriving exhibition area that complements these key messages and showcases cutting-edge solutions to support retrofit over demolition and replacement.

Book now to reserve your place and be part of a day of inspiration and collaboration.

Plastics, Sustainability and Systems: One Bin to Rule Them All

Wednesday 7 September  2022.11am – 12:30pm BST

Join ICON as Professor Mike Shaver, Director of Sustainable Futures, University of Manchester, takes us on an exploration of the complex nature of our plastic environment and how, by improving the sustainable fates of plastics from reuse to recycling and creating new monomers for degradable polymers, polymer chemistry has the opportunity to shape a new sustainable future.

Book here: https://www.icon.org.uk/events/environmental-sustainability-network-plastics-sustainability-and-systems.html

New CIBSE Committee to focus on retrofit in heritage buildings

CIBSE is launching a new committee dedicated to focusing retrofit in heritage buildings. As part of this launch they are running a series of webinars, with the first starting in September. Click here to find out more.

AJ Climate Champions podcast: Bob Prewett explains why Passivhaus is often too much for heritage buildings

Bob Prewett of Prewett Bizley architects shares a podcast discussing why passivhaus standards are not always suitable for heritage buildings.

Conservation Charities & Agencies combine forces to tackle the impact of climate change on the UK’s heritage

Seven UK organisations have announced a new partnership to help tackle the impact of climate change on historical sites and our cultural heritage, and to share expertise. The article provides an interesting read into the aims the partnership is working towards and the reasons why.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the June News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the September post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl