Alex Wrottesley, managing director – Landmark Geodata, Landmark Information Group, provides his view on what he considers will be the stand-out themes for 2022 in the real estate planning, development and redevelopment space:
“I believe there will be three broad themes for our industry as we move through 2022:
1. Biodiversity and Net Gain:
The first area is around biodiversity and net gain; the Environment Act 2021 became law last November and there are many really positive measures included for environmental protection. One that will affect our customers the most is a requirement for property developers to demonstrate a net gain of at least 10% in biodiversity on the projects they work on. This comes into force from 2023, so this year will be one of preparation.
What this means in practical terms, is that anyone doing building work will have to consider the natural environment and the positive or negative effects the development has on the site in question. It will be mandatory to show the steps being taken either at the site, within the local authority area, or they will be required to purchase ‘credits’, which will be used on projects elsewhere in the country.
There will be a lot of rules around this new requirement and we are currently exploring ways that we can actively support our customers in demonstrating these biodiversity gains through the intelligent use of geospatial data.
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 the required net gain on future projects.
2. Energy Performance of Buildings
In 2022, I believe we will see an increased drive for greater clarity and defensible data relating to energy performance of the UK housing stock. Presently, we have the EPC as the key measure, however it is considered by many to be a very ‘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 energy performance.
If you consider the current whitepaper that looks at rental properties there is a suggestion that any residential property rated lower than a C, or a commercial property less than B rated will not be allowed to be rented beyond 2030. This will greatly sharpen the attention of landlords, developers and investors across the country.
These rules are only proposals and not yet legislated, however 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, and avoid a potential asset value hit on properties unable to meet the grade in time.
Over the coming year, I am confident that we will therefore see a great deal of innovation in the energy performance and measurement space to help validate accurate calculations, as well as support those with under-performing buildings develop timely and practical resolution strategies.
3. OS national Geospatial Database
The third theme for 2022 will be around the launch of OS’ national geospatial database. We are excited to see the delivery of new methodology for providing access to OS data in a more granular and visible way. It will enable the Planning and Development sectors to access geospatial data in a far more flexible, precise and bespoke way.
For us at Landmark, this will enable us to support the industry meet its various, highly unique data requirements as part of the planning and development process. We are looking forward to seeing how much more granular detail can be included in local plans, planning applications and many other useful applications, as a result of this advancement.