Locale : Global (English)

23 November 2021

Mott MacDonald supports TfL’s Sustainable Development Framework

Transport for London (TfL) has published its Sustainable Development Framework (SDF), which will support its property development programme as it embarks on a large number of residential, commercial, and masterplanning projects across London. Mott MacDonald has been involved in the development of the SDF since 2019 and are a lead consultant supporting its roll out and adoption across the TfL commercial development portfolio.

The framework, which is closely aligned to both TfL’s Corporate Environment Plan and the Mayor’s Recovery Programme, sets out TfL’s approach to driving positive social impact, promoting economic development, and embodying environmental stewardship across its developments.

The SDF contains more than a hundred hard metrics, stretching targets, as well as industry-leading guidance, and builds upon industry best practice by uniquely combining a metric-driven focus on performance with a triple-bottom-line approach.

Working closely with its development partners and multiple stakeholders, the SDF was piloted extensively across TfL’s property development portfolio and has been implemented across more than twenty projects. Since its application, a range of cost-effective and value-enhancing sustainability performance improvements have already been achieved when comparing schemes that utilised the SDF versus those pre-dated that predated its creation, including:

  • A 56 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions
  • An increase in average Urban Greening Factor from 0.29 to 0.42
  • An increase in average Home Quality Mark rating from 3.5 Stars to 4.4 Stars

The SDF is also already delivering positive results within developments. TfL’s over-station development at Southwark Tube station has been designed to be one of the most sustainable office buildings in the world. The development will be constructed from hybrid steel and cross-laminated timber frame, reducing its weight and helping to ensure construction efficiency, minimal waste and a significant reduction in embodied carbon. It is also designed to use waste heat from the Tube station below, alongside air source heat pumps and solar panels, to make carbon dioxide savings.

More widely, through its construction skills programme, TfL has also trained almost 2,500 people, 78 per cent of whom had been unemployed. Many of these people have then be able to use this training to successfully apply for jobs, tackling the acute skills shortage facing the construction industry.

By sharing the SDF Handbook more widely with the industry, TfL hopes to begin a dialogue across the industry around the use of performance-focused sustainability approaches. In coming months, TfL will engage and collaborate with the industry and wider stakeholders prior to publishing an updated Handbook with detailed technical guidance as a publicly accessible resource for the industry to use next year.

Derek Wilson, head of sustainability – commercial development at Transport for London (TfL) said: “We are excited to be sharing our Sustainable Development Framework with the industry and are eager to hear their feedback, so that we can refine it further ahead of us publishing it as an open-source resource that can be used by all. We face many challenges – from the impact of climate change to the skills shortage in the construction industry – and we believe that this Framework will help us and other developers create projects that drive positive change and build a city that is fit for the future.”

Jonathan Todd, Mott MacDonald’s account leader for TfL Commercial and Property Development said: “The Sustainable Development Framework redefines what good looks like in the built environment space. By releasing it freely to market TfL has demonstrated its progressive outlook, enabling others to further deliver best practice in urban development.”

The SDF has been designed to accommodate a diversity of sites and their individual context with three pillars at its core: promoting vibrant and diverse communities, creating healthy places for people and the planet, and supporting and developing local economies. Each pillar is then broken down into three dimensions and their associated Key Performance Indicators, which allow users of the SDF to effectively measure their performance across the triple-bottom-line.

By applying the SDF’s nine-step methodology, it can be used continuously throughout the development process, allowing developers to analyse any strengths and weaknesses and use these to improve the sustainability performance of their projects.

The publication of the SDF follows TfL being awarded the top ‘five star’ rating for the second year in a row by GRESB, one of the world’s leading environmental, social and governance benchmarks for real estate and infrastructure investments across the world. With an overall score of 97/100, TfL was ranked first in Europe among diversified development companies and achieved regional sector leader status – a feat which was closely linked to the application of the SDF.

For more information and to learn about upcoming events related to the Sustainability Development Framework, please visit here: Sustainable property development - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)

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