Tesco’s “Green” Claims Lack Validity

By Barrie Mould
Managing Consultant at Independent Consultant
Visiting Professor at University of Brighton

From 12th to 18th March 2012, Tesco are the headline sponsor of “Climate Change Week” and claim to be seriously concerned about climate change and environmental sustainability issues. Yet Tesco’s current proposal for a store and housing in Ashtead fails to achieve Mole Valley’s required building sustainability standards.

MVDC require new dwellings to meet a national standard known as the Code for Sustainable Homes at Code 3 level (on a scale of 1 – 6, with 1 being the lowest). Code level 3 has been a statutory minimum requirement for public sector housing for a number of years and for all new housing in Mole Valley since late 2009.

AIn 2013 the minimum standard is to be increased to Code level 4 and in 2016, to Code level 6. The majority of recent new housing development in Mole Valley has achieved Code level 3, so why should Tesco’s come in with a sub-standard proposal now (the flats above the store only just achieve Code level 2)?

Within a few years the proposed new flats will be dinosaurs in development terms, and a legacy far from the high green standards that Tesco’s claim to hold.

The proposal for the new store itself is a backwards step as well.  The store building standard is something known as BREEAM (a nationally recognised standard produced by the Building Research Establishment). MVDC require developments to achieve a “very good” rating, Tesco’s current proposal achieves a “good” rating.

Tesco and its development consultants know how to do much better – some of their new stores achieve the top level standard of “excellent”. So why are they proposing to give Ashtead less than the best they know how to do?

The answer is that the site is not big enough to do this for a store of the size that is proposed! There is thus a fairly obvious point that MVDC should be making to them – the application should be for a smaller store that can be designed to achieve BREEAM “very good” standard as a minimum. Only if Tesco accept this will any of their “green” claims have any validity.

Please help us to put pressure on Tesco and MVDC to think long term and implement the minimum sustainability standards required by Mole Valley’s well established policy.