The British Property Federation has today backed Government plans to scrap a planning rule which it said would not be effective in reducing carbon emissions.

It said the Merton Rule – which requires buildings to generate 10-20% of its energy through onsite renewables – is a far less efficient way of cutting carbon. It said investing in the actual energy efficiency of buildings is more effective.

It said in many developments, measures such as wind turbines or solar panels are ‘useless’ at fighting climate change, especially in London where there is little wind. Additionally it said the carbon saving of small-scale solar panels is simply not cost-effective.

The lobbying group for the property industry said it was working with the Carbon Trust to examine how landlords and tenants can actively reduce the energy consumptions in offices. It said developers are calling for ‘broad minded thinking rather than straight jacketed targets designed to grab headlines and tick boxes’. It added that in many cases it would be much better for buildings to purchase green energy from off-site sources able to generate low-carbon emitting energy on a larger, more efficient scale.

Liz Peace, BPF chief executive, said: ‘Redirecting the financial investment required to deliver these targets for onsite renewables to the buildings themselves and the services in them, such as boilers, would increase their energy efficiency. It would deliver better energy savings and also allow buildings, both old and new, to benefit from larger scale renewable energy generated much more efficiently. This will ultimately save significantly more CO2 than the blinkered approach encouraged by the Merton Rule.’