Ed Cotter, Manager - BREEAM Communities, Building Research Establishment (BRE).
In the drive to improve the sustainability of our built environment, there is now a strong focus on communities - especially communities in which people can work, shop, learn and play near their homes, and not have to drive miles from residential areas to distant business districts, shopping centres, schools and other facilities.
The importance of sustainable communities is recognised by governments throughout the globe, by local planning authorities as well as developers themselves, but planning development projects that can deliver true sustainability within the built environment is a complex business.
To help local authorities take account of the full range of issues that must be considered from the earliest planning stages, BRE has developed an adaptive and flexible, yet consistent and transparent system to set, measure, assess and finally verify the sustainable performance of development projects. These include questions and criteria organised under eight, easy to understand categories - for example, climate change and energy, transport and movement which are tailored to suit the characteristics of the region and local priorities.