William Eichler 20 August 2019

City of London publishes UK’s ‘first’ wind microclimate guidelines

The City of London has published the UK’s first wind microclimate guidelines for new development proposals in the Square Mile in an effort to keep cyclists safe.

The City Corporation says the guidelines provide a ‘more robust framework’ for assessing the impact of planning applications on wind conditions.

Under the new guidance, which was formulated with RWDI, a specialist engineering consultancy, what were previously acceptable ‘business walking conditions’ are now reclassified as ‘uncomfortable’.

‘Uncomfortable’ conditions are to be avoided other than in exceptional circumstances of limited public access.

‘With the number of tall buildings in the Square Mile growing, it is important that the knock-on effects of new developments on wind at street-level are properly considered,’ said Alastair Moss, chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee.

‘These guidelines mark another significant step that the City Corporation is taking to put cyclists and pedestrians at the heart of planning in the Square Mile, prioritising their safety and experience.’

The guidelines require that wind impacts are tested at the earliest point of a scheme’s design development and that more micro-level assessments of wind directions are carried out in wind tunnel testing.

Two consultants will also have to be commissioned during the planning process – one to carry out wind tunnel testing and the other to focus on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques, which will be undertaken according to a new ‘rigorous code of practice’.

Planners will also need to assess the variation of mean and gust wind speed and height.

‘From the Transport Strategy to the City Plan, we are ensuring that our streets are a comfortable and pleasant place to live, work and visit,’ said Cllr Moss.

‘We hope these groundbreaking guidelines can create a blueprint for others by delivering safer, more enjoyable streets that meet the evolving needs of this great City.’

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