New daylight standards impact on planning
Daylight is a factor in planning applications that is frequently appearing as a point of dispute, particularly as the health and wellbeing dimension of buildings is topical. As a response, the British Standards Institution (BSI) has published a new standard for the provision of daylight in new buildings.
Though the new guidelines are not compulsory, it is understood that local authorities and applicants typically use BRE direction when assessing or preparing applications. There is not a large shift away from the previous guidelines, but the new targets are wider in their scope as they apply to all rooms in a new building (not just habitable rooms) and the quality of the views from them.
The Planning Officers Society’s development management network argue that a more methodical approach to measuring daylight levels could help avoid arguments on the matter, with some flexibility allowed for authorities to adopt different daylight targets for urban and suburban places.
Some argue that the new guidelines do not go far enough. The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies suggests that the issue of overshadowing of existing buildings with new development is not considered yet, whilst Avison Young believe that there is a tension with national policy with the pressure to deliver greater density.