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Wed 28 May 2008 04:09 AM

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Strict green building laws announced in Abu Dhabi

Emirate says all buildings will have to comply with a world class 'green' standard.

Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council on Wednesday said that all buildings in the emirate will have to adhere to a green standard that will eventually make it "a world leader".

The new measures are set to transform the way all buildings in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia are designed, the planning council said.

Sanctions could be enforced upon developers who fail to comply with the new regulations, which are still in development, and the council would refuse to give planning to permission to any new building plans which do not comply with the green standard.

Owners of existing buildings will also have to eventually apply the regulations in order to make them more environmentally-friendly.

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council general manager Falah Ahabi said laws would be set in place within five years, although work on changing the existing buildings with continue past this year.

The Estidama programme - named after the Arabic word for sustainability - would make Abu Dhabi into “an ecological emirate”, Ahabi said.

“We have to understand that the world around us is changing, so we have to be at the forefront," he told UAE daily The National.

"We have to go that extra mile to reach these targets,” he said.

To show how well a building has complied to the new rules, a points system will be used, with the most green buildings given five ‘pearls’.

The Abu Dhabi Municipality will issue green licences to developers and inspect all buildings to ensure they reach the required standards.

The guidelines announced today are the first significant step towards implementing Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, the long-term vision for the capital.

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council is responsible for implementing The 2030 plan which calls for Abu Dhabi to become a sustainable and environmentally-friendly city.

The Estidama programme is also supported by Abu Dhabi Municipality, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and Masdar.

The project is seen as a way of replicating the vision provided by Masdar - the world’s first environmentally-friendly city outside Abu Dhabi - in the capital.

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