Glen Irwin’s article (“Ten key reasons why the London Plan isn’t working”, BSj 6/07) about the British Council for Offices (BCO) report fails to recognise the work of the Greater London Authority and the development industry to implement ground-breaking, successful planning policies.

The London Plan is working and has ensured significantly fewer emissions from new developments than would otherwise have occurred, while driving a culture change within the development industry, which the BCO report accepts has been very significant.

By focusing on the renewable energy elements of the plan, the report, and your article, overlook the clear intention of the Mayor’s policies and supporting planning guidance: that on-site renewable energy targets are only the final stage in the process of managing the energy impact of new developments.

For most of the people we work with in the industry, the first priority is to design the most energy-efficient building they can. They then look to design in new technologies, such as connecting to district heating or the installation of local energy networks, and finally incorporate renewable energy sources.

Current policies requiring energy efficiency and renewable energy are clearly flexible and evidence of significant energy savings has been presented to the public inquiry now reviewing the London Plan. A review of implementation of the plan policies conducted for the inquiry shows a significant number of developments are achieving 10% renewable targets and 25% are exceeding them. In fact, 8% of new developments are achieving a 20% renewable energy contribution.

It is wrong to suggest the plan’s energy policies have emanated from the steering group of the London Energy Partnership. The latter has done excellent work to support implementation of the plan, but it has not had any formal role in the development of policy beyond that of any other stakeholder.

It is also untrue that the plan fails properly to address the issue of energy use in existing buildings. The Mayor’s new policies will for the first time ever give development plan status to a city-wide CO2 reduction target. This is for all sectors: commercial and residential, new build and existing, transport and industrial. Your article fails to mention the recently published Climate Change Action Plan where the Mayor sets out a huge programme of activity to retrofit and adapt our building stock. The announcement in New York earlier this year of a $5bn fund to invest in retrofitting public buildings in 16 world cities is one example of the many actions the Mayor is leading on this vitally important issue.

The costs of renewable energy technology continue to fall as the market responds to demand created by policy, combined with a greater awareness of the need to address climate change. Raising our aspirations by setting tough but achievable renewable energy targets will help drive the change that will lead to the substantial energy savings we must make.