London West, UK - UK planners in many areas seem intent on supporting, or powerless to refuse, the demolition of complete buildings, or just the interiors, of many well-built Victorian, Edwardian and later homes, commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, prisons and churches, and often simply recommending the complete gutting and removal of all the materials - fixtures and fittings, fireplaces, doors, windows, staircases, decorative plasterwork, bricks, floorboards, roof timbers, slates and tiles - behind what was a fine facade.
Many of the fine old materials arising would have a ready market if they were saved, which is exactly what the law, the Waste Regulations passed in 2011 by the Cameron government, states should happen. Does it? Well, not much.
A few years ago I submitted comments to Westminster Council in response to a public consultation on the 'Works of demolition, rebuilding, repair and restoration; internal and external alterations including new mansard roof; new build extensions; creation of new basement; installation of new plant equipment; landscaping; and associated works including the repair and partial reconstruction of the existing rear boundary wall'.
So I posted a comment - online of course, it's very simple.
Planning condition requiring the reuse of reclaimed building materials
In the event of consent being granted, please ensure that a planning condition is attached which requires the works to comply with the 2011 UK Waste Regulations which require reuse of reclaimable and reusable building materials from demolition.
Salvo's guidelines for councils for acceptable reuse within the new project are:
Every building or landscaping project should reuse the UK minimum average of 1.5 per cent reclaimed materials by value, volume or weight. Green buildings should outperform the average and reuse 3 per cent reclaimed materials by value, volume or weight. The highest-rated green buildings should reuse 4.5 per cent reclaimed materials by value, volume or weight.
Reusable building materials or products from building and landscaping must either be reused in the works, or elsewhere, in compliance with the UK 2011 Waste Regulations. This includes sale to an architectural salvage or reclaimed building materials company.
Typical materials which are easy to reclaimed include reclaimed timber flooring and joists, reclaimed bricks, reclaimed roof tiles and slates.
The Government, Defra, RICS, BREEAM and BRE encourage the reuse of reclaimed building materials.
In wealthy parts of London, in particular, large quantities of reclaimable materials for which there is high demand, are needlessly recycled (i.e. crushed, chipped, mulched and burnt) rather than reused. This is illegal.
Of course, reply was there none, but I felt that perhaps if everyone started putting this comment in response to the public consultation on every planning application, maybe a planner somewhere might recommend it as a condition.
Underlying this condition, and the sensible reason for reuse being included as mandatory in the waste hierarchy set out in the Waste Regulations, is the plain fact that the world's resources are being squandered on modern replacements after the needless destruction of otherwise perfectly reusable old building materials.
Campaign for planning conditions to save demolition materials
UK government's own advice to business is not lawful on reuse
Did an Edwardian demolition in Sheffield break the law?
Salvage for which a market exists should be sold and reused
What to reclaim and reuse from the demolition of tower blocks
The waste hierarchy cannot be ignored after urgent demolition
Reuse incorporated into 2011 waste regulations
Story Type: Reference