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Government u-turn on zero carbon homes policy

It is feared that up to two million extra tonnes of CO2 could be created each year following the government’s dramatic u-turn on its zero carbon targets for new homes. Chancellor George Osbourne revealed that his zero carbon building policy is to be scrapped, which means two policies have been axed: an upgrade to the 2016 Building Regulations and the ‘Allowable Solutions’ carbon offsetting scheme.


It is claimed that the move will result in additional energy costs of £200 per year, per household if the government’s target of building 200,000 new homes every year is met.


There have been mixed responses to the announcement with UK-GBC CEO Julie Hirigoyen, claiming: “It is short-sighted, unnecessary, retrograde and damaging to the house building industry which has invested heavily in delivering energy efficient homes. Britain needs more housing but there is no justification for building homes with a permanent legacy of high energy bills. This stop-start policy making approach gives industry no confidence in the government’s vision for a low carbon economy and condemns new home owners to higher energy bills.”


However, Sarah McMonagle, head of external affairs at the FMB, added: “The UK’s new homes have never been so energy efficient but the target for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 was overly ambitious.


“The attempt to get down to the ‘zero’ of ‘zero carbon’ through proposed payments for off-site mitigation and further renewable technology threatened to impose significant additional costs on SME house builders – in short, this would have held back their ability to build new homes. The government is therefore right to remove the unnecessary zero carbon standards which threatened to perpetuate the housing crisis.”


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