There will be two broad themes for our industry as we move through 2022.

Alex Wrottesley

Alex Wrottesley

The first relates to the Environment Act 2021. There are many positive measures relating to environmental protection and one that really stands out is a requirement for property developers to demonstrate a net gain of at least 10% in biodiversity on their projects. This comes into force from 2023, so 2022 will be a year of preparation.

Developers will have to consider the natural environment and the effects development has on the site. It will be mandatory to show the steps being taken at the site or within the local authority area, or developers will be required to purchase ‘credits’ that will be used on projects elsewhere in the country.

It will be interesting to see how, once legislated, this will be managed and assessed, and how developers can accurately calculate what is needed to achieve these net gains.

The second theme relates to the energy performance of buildings. I believe we will see an increased drive for greater clarity and defensible data relating to energy performance of UK property stock.

Presently, we have the EPC as the key measure. However, it is considered by many to be a ‘blunt tool’, so now that the government’s net zero targets are in place it will become critical to more accurately assess a building’s performance.

The white paper looks at rental properties with a suggestion that any residential property rated lower than a ‘C’ or a commercial property less than ‘B’-rated will not be permitted to be rented beyond 2030. While these rules are only proposals, as it currently stands only around 6% of commercial property stock is rated ‘B’ or higher, showing that there could be a great deal of work required on existing portfolios to retrofit measures that improve energy performance.

I am confident we will see significant innovation in the energy performance and measurement to help validate accurate calculations, as well as to support those with under-performing buildings to develop timely and practical resolution strategies. 

Alex Wrottesley is managing director of Landmark Geodata, Landmark Information Group