Independent research into the economic and environmental impacts of tall buildings to go ahead

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, has announced plans for independent research into the economic and environmental impacts of tall buildings.

Tall buildings have been very much in the news recently. Plans for schemes such as The Shard have attracted a lot of publicity while arguments over the extent to which such buildings should be allowed are being aired in the context of the London Mayoral election.

The issues involved are sometimes characterised simplistically as a battle between conservationists obsessed with protecting views of St Paul’s from Primrose Hill and hard-nosed developers intent on wreaking havoc on London’s skyline in pursuit of maximum profit. What is needed is a more balanced debate so that proper account is taken, both of the aesthetic impact of tall buildings and of the extent to which they can bring economic or sustainability benefits.

Liz Peace said: 'Unfortunately, little work has been done on these latter aspects and it was to fill this gap that the BPF recently commissioned some independent research from the consultants, Colin Buchanan. Any debate in this area does, of course, have to differentiate between the case for higher levels of density and the need for tall buildings. High density can be achieved in various ways - by groundscrapers as well as skyscrapers.

'There is a need, therefore to look first at the potential benefits of high density development – which might include greater working efficiency and the ability to focus employment in sustainable locations around transport nodes - before going on to consider whether there are certain situations where such benefits can only be delivered by building tall.

'It is crucial that arguments about these issues should become more evidence based and I hope that out report – which should be available before the summer - will contribute to that process.'

For more information on our views contact the BPF on 07968 124545 or [email protected]

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