BRE environmental assessment scheme's criteria set to be revised

Assessment system which highlights using native plants provokes debate among designers.

The BRE Environmental Assessment Method (Breeam), which was criticised by industry leaders and academics for focusing on using native plants, is being revised.

Palmstead Nurseries sales and marketing director Nick Coslett criticised the scheme last month (HW 24 August).He said many top landscape architects and designers were frustrated by the criteria and wanted the topic aired at the nursery's Soft Landscape Workshop on 25 September.

Sheffield University Professor of planting design and vegetation technology and green roof expert Nigel Dunnett, also speaking at the event, is one of those concerned.

He said: "Breeam insists that only native plants are used for green roofs if a scheme is to be given credits or an excellent rating, and this is starting to become a severe impediment to the creative application of roof greening in the UK."

Leading environmentalist Professor Chris Baines, who is also vice-president of the Wildlife Trust, said a greater encouragement of local landscape integrity would be more helpful.

"Breeam has played an important role in endorsing the importance of taking the landscape setting of the built environment seriously,"

he said. "However, there is a sense that their simplistic adoption of the native plants dogma is devaluing the policy."

BRE, the charity which runs Breeam, has revealed that it is in talks with the Landscape Institute technical committee and experts to review and update the criteria.

Breeam director Martin Townsend said: "This debate is highly topical because we are reviewing now as we do every two years. Breeam is a scorecard of best practice and we try and capture the best practice in the marketplace at the time."

Townsend said BRE would send a representative to speak at the workshop, held at Ashford International Hotel, and urged professionals to share their experience and concerns at the event.

Other speakers confirmed are Kew Gardens' Tony Kirkham, journalist Kate Bradbury and Professors Baines and Dunnett.

Coslett said he was delighted Breeam would attend: "I wasn't attacking Breeam, but I wanted to get the topic aired. I'm a great believer that it should be right plant, right place."

Townsend said: "The feedback we've got is that native species are more positive in terms of biodiversity. If a trained ecologist says that non-native is good we would look at that."

Breeam certification Buildings gain value

So far 250,000 buildings have been certified by Breeam and more than a million have been registered for assessment since it launched in 1990. The assessment covers the building and surrounding landscape, which is measured for ecology, green infrastructure, water efficiency and sustainability.

A Maastricht University report published by RICS Research last year, showed that property in neighbourhoods with Breeam-certified buildings cost more than those without - rents were 1.5 per cent higher and sales six per cent.

The Breeam-certified properties also had rents that were 21 per cent higher and sales of 18 per cent more.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.


Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space
 

Read Noel Farrer