Heritage and the Climate Crisis: June 2022 News

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of June with some highlights of upcoming events, including Heritage Declare’s first webinar on Friday 15th.

News from Heritage Declares

Heritage Declares Webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon, 15th July, 12:30pm- 1:30pm. Sign up here.

This Friday, we are hosting our first webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon. We currently have over 160 people signed up so big thank you to everyone who has already signed up! If you’d also like to join, use the link above to register and to find more info on the session please see here.

Other news from Heritage Declares

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 14th July 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.

The Role of Historic Buildings in Getting to Net Zero – Webinar Thursday 14th July 2022, 12-2pm 

The Role of Historic Buildings in Getting to Net Zero - Webinar

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/summer-autumn-2022-programme-392149 

The Historic Towns and Villages Forum are hosting a webinar this Thursday looking at the measures that councils, developers and design teams can adopt to mitigate climate change.

Speakers on Thursday 14th July 2022:

  • Welcome and Introduction, Louise Thomas, HTVF Director
  • You’ve declared a Climate Emergency… what next? Chris Pountney, Associate, Arup
  • How sustainability benefits can deliver heritage benefits, Emma Sharp, Heritage Planning Associate Director, Stantec (previously Barton Willmore)
  • Lessons Learned from the Retrofitting of Historic Buildings at Trinity Court, Cambridge, Oliver Smith, Director, 5th Studio

Work to demolish ‘iconic’ art deco house in North Wales gets underway.

57 Marine Drive, Rhos on Sea. (©Image Moxette, Flickr)

The Daily Post reports that a planning application for the demolition of an Art Deco house at Rhos on Sea and its replacement with an apartment block has been approved despite it being considered a non-designated heritage asset by the Bay of Colwyn Town Council, Historic Buildings and Places and The Twentieth Century Society. The consultation response from Conwy’s conservation officer  points to the importance of this Art Deco building whilst also stating that “it would be preferable if it could be reused rather than demolished, especially in our current climate emergency.”

An attempt to have the building protected from demolition by listing was unsuccessful, though CADW, in their recommendations, acknowledge that the building is a part of the twentieth century history of Rhos on Sea and the Conwy Coastline.

Though the design and access statement produced by JAR Architects to support the planning application claims that a “holistically sustainable strategy” has been used to inform the development, no mention of the embodied carbon – of either the building to be demolished or its replacement – was made.

Ultimately the demolition of an existing building and its replacement with a new building is supported by National and Local Planning Policy, therefore, despite the conservation officers reservation’s to the development on both heritage grounds and in terms of the climate emergency, demolition is now underway.

Resilience of buildings to challenges associated with climate change: report

Commissioned by the Welsh Government, this report by Prof Carolyn Hayles of Cardiff Metropolitan University aims to identify the climate change vulnerabilities specific to the Welsh built environment and provide practical recommendations for risk-based adaptation. It does so through drawing on wider UK and international research and as such is applicable to an audience beyond Welsh borders. It calls for the development of holistic climate change policies that ensure adaptation has equal footing with mitigation, and the interconnected nature of the two are fully understood. Click here to view the report.

Development threat for Edinburgh’s Category A listed Scottish Widows HQ

An aerial view of the site from above Dalkeith Road (Image C20society.org)

The C20 society strongly objects to the proposed residential redevelopment of 15 Dalkeith Road. Built in 1972-76 by the practice of Sir Basil Spence, Glover and Fergusson and winning a RIBA Award for Scotland in 1977 the building is now category A listed. It was vacated by Scottish Widows in 2020 and the building’s owners, Schroders Capital, are seeking to redevelop the site, demolishing much of the existing building to “free up land for residential development.”

The plans are outlined on a public consultation website that invites comments to be submitted prior to a planning application being made in August 2022.

The C20 Society object to the developer’s desire to demolish almost half of the buildings, replace the  remaining brown solar glass and bronze mullioned façade with a proprietary aluminium curtain wall system as well as the removal of the undercroft car park and boiler house which will result in the loss of much of the Sylvia Crowe designed landscape.

The consultation document points to the building’s poor environmental performance as a need for redevelopment stating that the zinc covered roof and elements of the façade are at the end of their ‘serviceable life.’ The C20 Society, on the other hand, are “concerned that the retain and upgrade option has been too quickly dismissed.”

Though the proposal aspires to create an exemplar of net zero carbon environmental performance, “minimising the project’s carbon footprint both in construction and during operation,” no consideration of the embodied carbon of the elements of the building to be demolished, or of the new construction, has yet appeared on any side of the debate about the future of the site

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) Case Studies

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are the Government’s legislated rating scheme to summarise and report energy performance of buildings. The domestic and non-domestic sectors use different methods in order to assess the energy efficiency of buildings. 

This report underlines the deficiencies of the current Energy Performance Certificates and associated calculation methodology, with a specific emphasis on those problems faced by historic and traditionally constructed properties.

Click here to read the report.

Designing for the Climate Emergency: A Guide for Architecture Students

The authors, from the UK, Denmark and Finland declare a climate emergency and that architects must be part of the radical change needed in response, underlining that design choices “we make affect people and communities thousands of miles away.”

The book tackles what the authors see as the quadruple challenges of the climate emergency: adapting to and mitigating climate change, creating restorative designs and improving climate justice. Reflecting architecture students’ years of study, six chapters focus on the climate emergency at each stage of the design process. 200 case studies have been selected that demonstrate high quality climate emergency design: projects that offer learning and inspiration are available on www.arch4change.com.

Designing for the Climate Emergency is available from RIBA Publishing, Routledge and Taylor & Francis Group

City of London sets out new planning guidance to tackle embodied carbon

140 Leadenhall Street (©Image Computer Consultant, Flickr)

The Architect’s Journal reports that The City of London Corporation (CoL) has begun  consultation to tackle the assessment of whole lifecycle carbon for all new major projects.

The Whole Lifecycle Carbon Optioneering planning advice note (PAN), produced by Hilson Moran, sets out how  proposals for new development must undertake an ‘optioneering’ exercise considering refurbishment and retention of fabric as well as more substantial development including demolition. Within the square mile, 76% of planning applications fall under the City’s definition of major development and it is these that are the focus of this PAN. A Whole Life Cycle Assessment (WLCA), using a standard methodology, will be required that considers different options (of varying degrees of intervention) in the commercial built environment to enable consistent evaluation by CoL and an informed discussion between them and the applicant.

Simon Sturgis, of Targeting Zero, is quoted by the Architect’s Journal as welcoming the PAN, though keen to point out that “the City must ensure that have planning officers suitably trained to review whole-life carbon submissions [and] take meaningful action to properly deliver on their carbon commitments.”

The six week consultation on the draft PAN began in mid June and comments arising will be returned to the planning and transport committee in the autumn. The note will then be incorporated into the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document.

Any thoughts?

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

Upcoming Webinar: ‘Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon’

15th July 12:30-13:30pm on Zoom- Click here to sign up

Sparked by the recent emblematic case of the M&S Oxford Street store, Heritage Declares and the Welsh School of Architecture invite you to a live webinar on the subject of Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon, with contributions from:

  • Henrietta Billings- Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, who commissioned the report on the M&S Oxford Street store
  • Julie Godefroy- Sustainability Consultant, CIBSE Head of Sustainability
  • Chris Cummings- Savills Head of Technical Sustainability, Sustainable Design & Director of “Savills Earth”

The session will be chaired by Heritage Declares coordinator and Course leader of the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation, Dr Chris Whitman, with support from fellow Heritage Declares coordinators.

Sign up to the webinar here.

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: February News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of February.

The news this month has been tragically centred around the Russian invasion of Ukraine so it feels fitting to start this month’s news by saying that the people of Ukraine and any signatories affected by the events are in our thoughts. Architect’s Journal have recently published an article Inside Ukraine: ‘Our architects haven’t left the bomb shelters for days’ (architectsjournal.co.uk) which gives insight into the current situation of a Kyiv-based practice and the city’s battle for survival. For information on how you can help visit the Disaster’s Emergency Committee.

In terms of Heritage and Climate news, we’ve seen some great, informative articles this month as well as new casework campaigning against demolition, something we are now so accustomed to seeing. This month also saw the launch of our Case Studies page on the website and our open call for case studies. We’ve already had some great submissions so far and can’t wait to get those of the website and share them in future newsletters. If you have a case study you’d like to share, please email us here.

RIBA demands mass retrofit of 3.3m interwar homes to tackle fuel poverty

Photo credit: AJ

The RIBA has called on the government to roll out a new fuel poverty-busting national retrofit strategy for millions of interwar homes. The report sets out how a mass ‘fabric-first’ retrofit drive could be achieved with an emphasis on financial aid, changes to policy and increased skills and training. Read more about the campaign here.

Extreme Flooding at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Storm Franklin saw extreme weather conditions across the country and one area which sustained extensive damage was UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. The River Skell overflowed through the Studley Royal estate, and whilst the water did not reach the ruins, it did cause damage to the 18th century water gardens and surrounding parkland. This is just one example of extreme weather causing catastrophe in recent years, all as a result of climate change. Events like these incentivise us to keep pushing for change to prevent more hertitage assets being lost or damaged. Read more about the flooding here.

Carbon Emissions Bill 

Duncan Baker MP for North Norfolk recently submitted a 10 minute rule bill to tackle Embodied Carbon in our buildings. The Bill will require the whole-life carbon emissions of buildings to be reported; to set limits on embodied carbon emissions in the construction of buildings; and for connected purposes. The Bill is currently undergoing its second reading in the House of Commons. To read more about the bill, click here.

Heritage Declares Case Study highlight: Greenlands, sustainability upgrades

Greenlands, Henley Business School

Heritage Declares signatory and volunteer, Emma Healey, led the Barton Willmore Heritage Team in assisting the University of Reading with their sustainability upgrade projects in some of the listed university buildings, including Grade II* listed, Greenlands. The current system was outdated with only two control centres leading the over- and under-heating of the buildings.

The aim of the project was to create a more sustainable heating system which could more easily be controlled but also reduce the costs of heating the building and reduce its carbon footprint. The team worked alongside the University and engineering team to develop a system that could be sympathetically installed within the listed buildings which would be more sustainable and financially viable for the University. Read more about the project on our new Case Studies page.

Planning’s second century needs to learn from the errors of its first

David Williams MRTPI (freelance planning and regeneration specialist) argues that much of 20th century planning and development has proven unsustainable, and the new mantra for planning moving forward should be ‘maintain, adapt, reuse’. Read more about David’s thoughts on sustainability and planning here.

Restoration begins at Saltdean Lido

After much campaigning to save the building and secure funding, restoration has started on Saltdean Lido and will continue across the next 18 months. The Lido are updating people of their progress through Twitter.

Demolition plans for Rotherham Bingo Hall recalled

Redevelopment plans that involve demolishing the historic former Rotherham cinema and replacing it with flats have been withdrawn following the building being granted listed status. Opened in 1934, the cinema was built by Thomas Wade & Son Ltd of Wath upon Dearne. It was designed by Blackmore & Sykes of Hull. It is now Grade II listed, adding an added level of protection against demolition. Read more here.

The demolition of Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School is set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly

Plans to bulldoze Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School are now set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has written to Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden of the Welsh Government of Culture and Sport to request she intervenes to stop the needless loss of the school and shared an alternative scheme for the site. Unfortunately, CADW have refused to list the site. Read more about the campaign here.

Building without Concrete? Looking forward to the built environment without concrete

Robyn Pender from Historic England has written an interesting article on whether the huge environmental burden of concrete is necessary. She questions whether buildings truly require concrete and argues that concrete has become a lazy person’s solution to every problem in the built environment. Read more here.

New measures introduced to manage the impact of climate change on Scotland’s national heritage sites

Photo credit HES

Historic Environment Scotland is implementing a new approach to the inspection of historic properties in response to climate change. A programme of tactile condition surveys on over 200 properties will assess the extent of deterioration of high-level masonry and ensure public safety against the risk of potentially unstable building fabric. As well as assessing general deterioration, the survey will assess the impacts of climate change. Read more about the survey work here.

Tactical Preservation in Detroit

Offering an international perspective, this report takes a look at how to approach empty buildings in the city of Detroit. Furthermore, it considers the ways they can be preserved and avenues for funding. Read more here.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 10th February at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Any thoughts?

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

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: January News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of January.

Whilst we try and spread some positivity in our monthly news, again through the month of January the headlines have been dominated by some high profile proposed demolitions, this time outside of London with demolitions of 20th century buildings proposed in Conway and Harrogate. Alongside this, there has been some interesting thought pieces on VAT and new builds as well as a new report published on the high profile M&S demolition on Oxford Street, see the Heritage Declares news highlights below.

Proposed demolition of Harrogate’s 1902 former Debenhams department store

An application has been submitted for the demolition of Harrogate’s 1902 former Debenhams department store on Parliament Street. The proposals would see the building demolished and replaced by 50 high-end apartments and two commercial units. Objections have been raised by Historic England and SAVE Britain’s Heritage questioning the lack of clear or adequate justification for demolition or analysis of refurbishment or retrofitting within the proposals. Read more here.

What if we didn’t build a single new building in 2022?

The most sustainable buildings are the ones already in existence. This article gives an American perspective on the adaptive, reuse projects in the context of the Climate Crisis, as well as some interesting takeaways when we consider new build projects. Read the full article here.

Max Fordham passes away

Acclaimed engineer and pioneer of sustainable building design, Max Fordham, passed away at the beginning of the month aged 88. Read his obituary here.

Demolition of Art Deco Cinema Rejected

In positive news, the demolition of a Grade C-listed Art Deco Cinema in Edinburgh has been rejected as “The application does  not demonstrate that the proposals to undertake substantial demolition will not damage the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building.” Read more here.

Roman toilet seat found in Peatlands, credit Vindolanda.

Climate Change Threatening buried UK Treasures

The changing weather patterns as a result of climate change are drying our some peatlands, waterlogged soils which cover about 10% of the UK. As peatlands contain very little oxygen, it is the perfect environment to preserved materials such as wood, leather and textiles which do not rot. As a result of more oxygen entering the peatland system, these materials are now at threat of an accelerated rate of decomposition. Read more here.

Art Deco building in Conwy to be demolished

Conwy Council’s planning committee has voted by nine votes to three in favour of demolishing an art deco house in Conwy. Read more about the decision here. C20 Society campaigned and objected to the proposals alongside locals to no avail despite no evidence being given to support claims of the building being unrepairable. However, the C20 Society are urging the council to reconsider the application, more info here.

Scrapping VAT on repairs would ease the housing crisis

At Heritage Declares, we are continually calling for VAT to be scrapped for repairs and retrofit. This article in The Times, considers the benefits of scrapping VAT on repairs rather than contemplating cutting VAT on energy. Read the full article here.

M&S Store comparison, credit: Mail Online

New report blasts bulldoze and rebuild plan for M&S Oxford Street HQ

SAVE Britain’s Heritage commissioned sustainability and carbon expert Simon Sturgis to produce a report on the M&S proposals on Oxford Street. Read more about the original decision in our November News. The report finds that the proposals do not comply with the UK Government’s net zero legislation to reduce carbon emissions or the Greater London Authority’s stated policy to prioritise retrofit. Read more about the report here. Sign the petition to stop the demolition here.

New RIBA Publications on the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings

RIBA have recently published three new publications on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings: Sustainability Past and Future Guide, International case studies and UK Case studies. These are a useful free resource to aid built heritage professionals and clients to take an informed approach to sustainability-focused interventions in existing buildings. If you are interested and want to know more, the guide and case studies available here.

Join the London Gasketeers in their fight to save London’s Historic Working Gas Lamps

Westminster Council intended to remove 300 historic working gas lamps, to replace them with fake replicas powered by LED light. The London Gasketeers are building a community to work to save London’s historic gas lamps. The council were targeting 160 unlisted lamps first- in Covent Garden & Westminster. However, thanks to the London Gasketeers, work has halted, read more here. At Heritage Declares, we champion repair, regular maintenance to protect our historic buildings and their fittings and fixtures as the most sustainable approach. Whilst we understand the eco-friendly credentials of LED lamps, an approach to sustainability should be proportionate. Does the amount of gas used by these lamps outweigh the carbon used in making new, replacement lamps? We encourage you to follow the London Gasketeers on Instagram and Twitter to find out more.

ACAN lodge petition to Limit the Carbon Footprint of Construction

The carbon footprint of new buildings and infrastructure accounted for around 20% of the UK’s overall carbon emissions in 2020. ACAN have created a petition petition to ask the UK government to introduce legislation to limit the carbon footprint of construction now, through changes to The Building Regulations and National Planning Policy. We encourage you to sign the petition here.

Making solar power an option for more homes

More homes and businesses in Kensington and Chelsea could be powered by renewable energy, with proposals to make installing solar panels easier. Kensington and Chelsea Council is the first in the country to consult on a new planning order, which would give consent for solar panels on most Grade II and some Grade II* listed buildings without the need for individual listed building consent. Read the consultation here.

Low Cost/No Cost Tips for Sustainability in Cultural Heritage

Signatory Lorraine Finch has published her book ‘Low cost/no cost tips for sustainability in cultural heritage’. The book is available to read and download free of charge on her website.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 10th February at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

Take part in the Welsh Historic Environment Group Climate Change Subgroup Historic Environment and Climate Change Adaptation Activity Survey 2021. They are looking for examples of about climate action work from 2021 relating to their Historic Environment and Climate Change in Wales Sector Adaptation Plan. Survey available here, more information available here. You have until 18th February to take part.

Any thoughts?

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

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: November News 2021

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of November. With COP26 dominating the headlines we weren’t light for coverage on the Climate Crisis this month. From the rejection of the Tulip to the publication of the Historic England Risk Register, see the Heritage Declares news highlights below.

The Tulip rejected at appeal- Big news for Heritage and the Climate Crisis

The controversial Tulip scheme in London was rejected over embodied carbon and heritage concerns. This Architects Journal article provides insight into the milestone decision. Great progress in light of COP26.

Historic England Climate Change Resources

Historic England have recently created a Climate Change: Mitigation, Adaptation and Energy Measures page on their website. A great collection of resources, networks and campaigns to showcase how the historic environment can positively contribute to overall global sustainability. We are delighted to have been included as an example campaign addressing how climate affects heritage and how heritage, and old buildings can be part of creative solutions.

STBA From Retrofit to Regeneration

The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) have recently published their guide ‘From Retrofit and Regeneration Publication’. An essential publication which calls for the UK to replace its policies and programmes to ‘Retrofit’
the built environment (merely to improve energy efficiency) with a strategy which uses
a much wider set of objectives. Including health, heritage, community cohesion, local
employment, cleaning and re-greening the environment, transport, and flood

POSTbrief on Reducing the whole life carbon impact of buildings

UK Parliament published a POSTbrief on Reducing the whole life carbon impact of buildings. The report usefully summarises the concerns and priorities of built environment professionals when considering the reduction of emissions, focusing on the need for reuse, whole life carbon analysis, VAT to be reduced in building refurbishments, a better vetting process for materials and polices to drive more resource-efficient construction and use of existing low-carbon building materials. It is reassuring to see the report champion the reuse and re-purposing of buildings. It asks us to reconsider the need for a new building in the first instance and give more consideration to retrofitting and repurposing existing buildings. 

We have reusable cups, bags and bottles: so why are our buildings still single use?

The Conversation published an article entitled We have reusable cups, bags and bottles: so why are our buildings still single use? An informative piece on why the built environment needs to be at the centre of the circular economy.

Heritage Creative Interview with Heritage Declares on Sustainability and Digital Heritage

Heritage Declares is featured in Heritage Creative’s latest Heritage Briefing: Increase Footfall with Digital looking at Heritage Tourism and sustainability as well as our aims for COP 26.

Demolition of Oxford Street M&S

Disappointing news came towards the end of the month with the demolition and rebuild of Oxford Street M&S. Interesting articles have stemmed from the decision with a clear push for reuse and retrofit, including this article in the Guardian. Save Britain’s Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society have put together a petition to save and re-use the flagship store.

Historic England’s Risk Register

Historic England Risk Register has been published. It is reassuring to see so many buildings taken off the Risk Register this year. These schemes demonstrate how heritage can play a role in our move towards Net Zero 2050 through reuse and avoiding the high carbon emissions associated with demolishing existing structures and building new

Any thoughts?

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