Policy 5.4A Electricity and gas supply



A  The Mayor will work with the relevant energy companies, Ofgem the regulator, national Government, the boroughs, developers, business representatives and others to promote strategic investment in electricity and gas infrastructure where and when it is required to accommodate the anticipated levels of growth in London. The forecasting of requirements should take into account the opportunities and impacts of decentralised energy and demand management measures.

Planning Decisions

B  Developers, especially of major schemes, should engage at an early stage with relevant boroughs and energy companies to identify the gas and electricity requirements arising from their development proposals.

C  The Mayor will work with relevant boroughs, energy companies and other relevant parties to support where appropriate development proposals for gas and electricity infrastructure which address identified energy requirements.

LDF preparation

D  Boroughs should work with the relevant energy companies to establish the future gas and electricity infrastructure needs arising from the development of their area and address them in their local plans. Boroughs should cooperate across boundaries (including outside Greater London where appropriate) to identify and address potential capacity shortfalls in the wider energy network serving their area. Where land is required for infrastructure, boroughs should allocate suitable sites.

Supporting text

5.31A  Electricity and gas infrastructure is essential for the functioning of any modern city. The relevant markets are complex with a range of stakeholders involved in the planning of required gas and electricity distribution capacity and different companies covering different parts of London. In addition, National Grid is responsible for energy transmission infrastructure.

Electricity Supply

5.31B  UK Power Networks (UKPN) is London’s main Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for electricity serving all except the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Hounslow and Ealing. Scottish and Southern Energy serves these boroughs. UKPN is responsible for distributing electricity from National Grid’s Grid Supply Points to London’s homes and businesses.

5.31C  The high level of network utilisation, especially in central London, is a particular concern because of the level of development required to accommodate anticipated population and business growth. According to UKPN, some of the large buildings being built in London have a maximum demand equivalent to a town with a population of around 50,000.  It is expected that at least in the short term, electricity demand could increase by up to 4 per cent annually. A mechanism has therefore been put in place to provide UKPN with regular, up-to-date information from the London Development Database to ensure that their demand forecasts are as robust as possible.

5.31D  There are concerns over the potential lack of strategic investment ahead of specific connection requests and the need to facilitate more cost-effective and timely connection of developments to the network. The current regulatory framework does not fully address demands likely to be generated by London’s distinct levels of growth and density. The Mayor has therefore established a London Electricity High-level Working Group[1] to investigate requirements for more strategic provision of electricity infrastructure in advance of need.

5.31E  Boroughs and DNOs should work together to assess future capacity requirements and constraints so that land for new electricity distribution infrastructure can be identified strategically and efficiently in advance. It is particularly important to avoid situations arising where the viability and space use of new development proposals are constrained disproportionately because inadequate account has been taken of the cumulative effect of earlier development on infrastructure capacity. Account should also be taken of the cumulative impact of anticipated developments on electricity transmission infrastructure requirements.

Gas Supply

5.31F  Two companies share London’s gas distribution network. National Grid serves the area north of the Thames as well as Battersea to Lambeth, and Southern Gas Networks the area south of the Thames. National Grid owns and operates the high-pressure transmission system, which transports gas from terminals to the two distribution networks, which operate at lower pressure.

5.31G  Partly because of improvements in operational efficiency, the industry is currently not expecting a general increase in gas demand. However, alongside the continuing programme of replacing old metal gas mains, local infrastructure improvements may be required to supply growth areas such as Opportunity Areas. This may also require the provision of new pressure reduction stations.

5. 31H  There are numerous low-pressure gasholders in London. Only a few are still operational and both gas distribution companies pursue de-commissioning strategies, which will result in brownfield land becoming available for development. The Mayor will work with them to prioritise de-commissioning of those gasholder sites which have significant potential to contribute to the provision of new homes and jobs on and around them. Planning guidance for hazardous installations (see Policy 5.22) will be prepared in cooperation with relevant stakeholders including the Health and Safety Executive to facilitate the de-commissioning process.

[1] This initiative emerged from the Mayor’s Electricity Summit in November 2012 and marked the starting point of a commitment to on-going, closer co-operation with the electricity industry, its regulator, the development and business sectors and interested local authorities. In addition, the High-level Working Group supports decentralised energy and demand management since they help to reduce the need for additional infrastructure investment. Further details about the Working Group can be found at: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/who-we-work/planning-working-groups/london-electricity-working-group.

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