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Date updated: 8/04/2024
Planning Policy Library

A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides detailed guidance on a policy in the Local Plan 2015. The SPDs are in the Planning Policy Library.

Consultation on the Planning for Sustainability SPD

We are now consulting on the draft Planning for Sustainability SPD, seeking comments and views from all communities in the City of London and we want to hear your feedback. Please head to our consultation platform Commonplace to leave your feedback or email with any further comments or queries.

The consultation will run from Monday 18 March 2024 until 5pm on Friday 17 May 2024. The consultation is open to everyone.

Copies of the draft Planning for Sustainability SPD are available for inspection over the consultation period during opening hours at the following locations:

  • Guildhall North Wing Reception
  • Artizan Library
  • Barbican Library
  • Guildhall Library
  • Shoe Lane Library
  • Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre

The Planning for Sustainability SPD is accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Screening Opinion and Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) Screening. Feedback on these documents can be submitted on Commonplace or sent to

Contact the Planning Team

Air Quality SPD

This includes the theme of Air quality. The City Corporation has produced an Air Quality SPD to assist developers in minimising emissions and air pollution.

More information on the City Corporation’s actions to improve air quality are on the Air Quality pages.

Carbon Options Guidance

For the City to reach net zero by 2040, new developments need to minimise all carbon emissions, whether they come from running the building, or the carbon embodied in the building itself. The City Corporation has developed a Carbon Advice Guidance Planning Advice Note (COG). The COG sets out how planning proposals need to go through an ‘optioneering’ exercise to look at different types of refurbishment that retain existing fabric, as well as a more substantial redevelopment of the site, involving demolition. Go to the Sustainable Development Planning Requirements page for the COG and how to use it.

Planning for Sustainability SPD

For the Square Mile to transition to net zero by 2040 and to become resilient to the changing climate, we have developed guidance for applicants in the form of a supplementary planning document (SPD) about “Planning for Sustainability” to help achieving this.

The SPD provides guidance and sets out requirements and processes relating to 5 environmental sustainability topics that applicants should address in planning application proposals in the Square Mile. These topics are Retrofit and Reuse; Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use; Circular Economy; Climate Resilience; and Urban Greening and Biodiversity. The SPD seeks to achieve an ambitious and high quality outcome for the environmental sustainability of development in the City of London, in line with the forthcoming City Plan 2040.

The City of London Corporation seeks to maintain and increase the amount and quality of office accommodation to promote the City’s role as the leading financial and business centre. Policy DM1.1 of the Local Plan states that planning applications to change office accommodation to other uses should be accompanied by evidence supporting the proposed change. The Office Use SPD gives guidance to applicants on the evidence needed to meet this requirement.

The Community Infrastructure Levy and Planning Obligations ensure that development contributes to the improvement of the City's environment and facilities. More information is available on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Planning Obligations (S106) page.

On 24 October 2023, the Lighting SPD was adopted. The SPD provides planning guidance for developers on lighting buildings and the spaces between them in the City of London and details the submission requirements to accompany a planning application. The SPD includes the ‘Considerate Lighting Charter’ which we encourage all those involved in lighting the City to commit to.

The SPD is accompanied by an ‘Adoption Statement’ which will remain on the website for three months following the date of adoption in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

The Thames Strategy SPD provides guidance to manage change along the Thames Riverside in accordance with London Plan and Local Plan policies.


The Archaeology and Development SPD provides guidance for planning developments which may affect archaeology. It covers all stages of the planning process, including pre-application advice, archaeological assessment, archaeological evaluation, investigation, mitigation and recording, post excavation assessment, publication and archiving.

Conservation Area Management Strategies

Conservation Area Character Summaries and Management Strategies are SPDs. SPDs are being prepared for all the City's Conservation Areas.

Listed buildings

  • The Barbican Estate is a mixed-use development constructed between 1963 and 1982 by the City of London Corporation, designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. It includes two schools, an Arts Centre and more than 2,000 flats. In 2001 the whole estate was listed Grade II. In 2005 the Listed Building Management Guidelines SPD was adopted and updated in 2012. The guidelines help residents, those managing the estate and planning officers to assess what kind of work needs listed building consent.
  • The Golden Lane Estate is a mixed-use development constructed by the City Corporation between 1953 and 1962. The estate was listed Grade II in 1997, except for Crescent House which was listed at Grade II*. In June 2007 the Listed Building Management Guidelines SPD was adopted to help residents, those managing the estate and planning officers to assess what kind of work needs listed building consent.
  • Leadenhall Market SPD is in two parts. The first part is the Character Summary and Management Strategy which analyses the special architectural and historical interest of the Conservation Area and explains how planning policies apply to it. The second part, the Listed Building Management Guidelines provides advice on the best practice for repairs and alterations to the Grade II* listed Market buildings and explains the planning permissions needed for works.

Views of St Paul's Cathedral, the Monument, the Tower of London and other landmarks on the City skyline are protected by planning controls. The Protected Views Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides the details. The SPD is in the Planning Policy Library.

St Paul's Heights

Since 1937, the City of London Corporation has had a policy known as the 'St Paul’s Heights' to protect and enhance important local views of the Cathedral from the South Bank, Thames bridges and certain points to the north, west and east.

‘St Paul’s Heights’ is a grid of maximum building heights, available in the City of London Interactive Mapping. To view the heights for an individual grid square(s), the map must be zoomed in to a detailed scale and the relevant layers switched on. A guide to using the mapping tool is available in the Planning Policy Library.

The "St Paul’s Heights Study 2015" available in the Planning Policy Library, is a technical document which looks at the context of the history of the Heights, an analysis of the form of the Heights, evaluation of infringing buildings, evaluation of existing views, and a summary of issues that arise. It includes information on using the mapping tool effectively.

The spatial data is available at the open data forum(external link). The relevant layers are:

St Paul's Heights Policy Area(external link)

St Paul's Heights Grid(external link)

St Paul's Heights Setbacks(external link)

Monument Views

The Monument Views Study complements the policy and guidance in the Protected Views SPD by describing the specific views to establish the key features of each view from the Monument as at April 2020. Nearby familiar skyline landmarks are described as they are important features in the general panorama to be seen from the public viewing gallery. The Study is in the Planning Policy Library.

London View Management Framework

The Mayor of London's London View Management Framework protects important views across London. These include various Views of the City skyline including St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and river prospects.

Guidance is set out in the Mayor of London’s London View Management Framework SPG(external link)

Tall buildings

The construction of tall buildings in the City of London is managed by planning policies in the London Plan 2021(external link) and the City of London Local Plan 2015.

In the City of London, all locations are sensitive to tall buildings.

Some areas are considered to be inappropriate such as conservation areas or where tall buildings would adversely affect protected views of St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and views of and from the Monument.

Proposals for tall buildings are permitted only on sites which are considered suitable having regard to the potential effect on:

  • the City skyline
  • the character and amenity of their surroundings including their relationship with existing tall buildings
  • the significance of heritage assets and their setting
  • effect on historic skyline features

This is evaluated in the study "Tall Buildings in the City of London (2020)", in the Planning Policy Library.

The City Public Realm SPD sets out the City Corporation's vision for the public realm including the main principles for controlling change and informing street enhancement schemes and provides general guidance for street works to ensure there is consistency of form and quality.

The Freight and Servicing SPD sets out potential measures for managing freight through the planning process by minimising trips, matching freight demand to network capacity, and mitigating the impact of essential freight trips.

The Open Space Strategy SPD which sets out how the City Corporation protects and enhances the gardens in the City and seeks to create more open spaces. It guides the management and planning of open spaces.

The Tree Strategy provides advice on protecting and maintaining trees, undertaking work on existing trees and encourages tree planting.

The planning policy for trees and open spaces is in the Local Plan Section 3.19 Open Spaces and Recreation and the Tree Strategy which is a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Part 1 contains policy and guidance and Part 2 provides detailed guidance on implementing Part 1.

Trees may be protected by conditions attached to planning permissions, or an obligation secured through a Section 106 agreement. Part 2 of the Tree Strategy includes guidance on applying for planning permission and making an application to carry out works to a tree subject of Tree Preservation Order or a Section 211 Notice.

Tree preservation orders

Trees in conservation areas are legally protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPO).

For information on making an application to work on a tree subject to a TPO and for an application form go to the works to a tree page.

Trees with a TPO are on the City's interactive map.

The City Corporation’s Enforcement Plan SPD sets out the City's approach to planning enforcement. It explains the principles and procedures the City Corporation follows to ensure that development and works to trees are properly regulated and contains standards and targets to be worked towards.