Letter sent to Boris Johnson flags concerns over promised commitments

Contractors, housebuilders and developers, including Sir Robert McAlpine, Berkeley and Capital & Counties, are among the signatories to a letter calling on prime minister Boris Johnson to ensure the Planning Bill promotes net zero.

More than 100 leaders from housebuilders, residential developers, architects, consultancies and contractors have signed the letter (see full list below), which is critical of measures trailed in the Queen’s Speech and the Planning White Paper published last year.

boris johnson

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Boris Johnson has been told by builders and developers to tighten up proposed net zero measures

Others to sign the letter include Multiplex and Bam, British Land and Legal & General along with a host of architectural practices, including Bennetts, Hopkins and PRP.

In it, the signatories say they are concerned that the government’s plans “do not include sufficient commitments for the Planning Bill to drive a strategic approach to the net zero transition, or to achieve development that is resilient to the impacts of climate change”.

The letter (see box below) calls on the government to ensure the new bill aligns with and supports the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050.

It wants the bill to support measures in the delayed Environment Bill to assist the recovery of nature. It also calls for clarity on how land allocated for growth is compatible with net zero and increased resourcing and skills support for local authorities.

The letter says: “It remains unclear whether proposals in the Environment Bill for nature’s recovery will be formally supported in planning, and we are concerned that the proposed land categorisations may open up protected areas for inappropriate development.

“To support the Government’s aims for nature recovery, local growth and levelling-up, the Planning Bill must demonstrate a continued commitment to enabling ambitious, locally-led climate action and environmental protection.”

The government last month used the Queen’s Speech to trail measures that will form the forthcoming Planning Bill.

These include proposals to scrap Section 106 agreements, push widespread design coding, and force councils to zone swathes of land for “growth”, “protection” or “renewal”.

Land zoned for growth will benefit from automatic outline planning permission, with councils unable to turn down applications that accord with local rules.

 The letter calls for:

  • · The new Planning Bill to align directly with, and support, the UK’s net zero target and ambitions for nature set out in the Environment Bill
  • · Clarity on how land allocated for ‘growth’ will be compatible with achieving net zero, securing nature’s recovery and delivering development resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  • · Genuinely enhanced levels of protection in planning for designations in the Environment Bill intended to support nature’s recovery.
  • · Increased resourcing and skills support for local planning authorities, in order to support their ability to set local targets, and deliver across multiple objectives in their local areas.


Full list of signatories

Acclaro Advisory

AGP Sustainable Real Assets

Akustak® (Cusp London Limited)

Alchemi Group

Aldersgate Group

Allies and Morrison LLP

Anglian Water

Apex Acoustics Ltd


BAM Construct UK Ltd

Bennetts Associates

Berkeley Group

Biogen Systems Limited


Black Architecture

Blue Tile Property Consultants

British Land


Buro Happold

Capital & Counties Properties PLC

Carbon Intelligence


CFP Green Buildings


Civic Engineers

Climate Strategy & Partners



Dan Carson Sustainability

Darren Evans Ltd

David Morley Architects

EAUC The Sustainability Leadership Alliance for Education


Element Four

Elliott Wood Partnership

Encore Environment Limited

EPR Architects

Finance Earth

FORE Partnership

Gerald Eve


Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London

Greencore Construction Ltd.

Greengage Environmental

Greenspace Live Ltd



Hilson Moran Partnership Ltd

Hoare Lea

Hopkins Architects

Howard Kennedy LLP

HTA Design LLP

Hutchinson Engineering (Widnes)

Hydrock & Hydrock Consultants Limited


Ingenious Real Estate Finance



John Sisk & Son Ltd

Legal & General Investment Management

LightSIM Ltd

MCS Company

MCS Foundation

Morph Structures

Morrow + Lorraine Architects


National Union of Students UK

Norman Disney & Young Consulting Engineers

NSR Management Ltd

One Click LCA

Perkins & Will

ProofShield ltd

PRP Architects LLP



reading university


Robert Lambe FCIOB, Managing Director, Melius Homes Limited


Saul D Humphrey LLP

Scott Brownrigg


Signify UK&I

Sika Limited


Sir Robert McAlpine

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill


Space Positive Ltd



Stride Treglown


Syntegra Group

Targeting Zero LLP


Thakeham Group

Thames Water

The Golden Threads of Construction Limited

The Pallet LOOP

Trident Building Consultancy Limited

TRILUX Lighting Ltd

Tritax Big Box REIT

Troup, Bywaters + Anders

Twinn Sustainability Innovation



Vertigo SDC

Willmott Dixon

Zeal Hotels

ZEHo Projects Ltd

Zero Carbon House