'Nervous' Osborne delays zero carbon home commitment

The Government has been urged to demonstrate its commitment for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 by ending the delay on new Building Regulations.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint and Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey have sent an open letter to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, arguing that the failure to clarify the standards which builders should adhere to in 2013 through Part L of the regulations is "highly detrimental" for delivering new homes and puts a key green policy at "serious risk." 

The call from Labour MPs has been strongly backed by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) who is also concerned over the uncertainty of the price of carbon in the so-called Allowable Solutions 2016 policy which enables developers to invest in offsite carbon mitigation schemes.

UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: "By providing the clarity so urgently needed on changes to the building regulations and confirming its support for zero carbon homes, Government could inject confidence into a sector with huge growth potential for the UK economy.

According to the UK-GBC, although the Coalition has previously stated its support for zero carbon homes from 2016 and zero carbon commercial properties from 2019, the industry is worried that innovation in the construction sector and supply chains could stall without urgent confirmation of changes to the regulations.

Speaking to edie, UKGBC Director of Policy and Communications John Alker said: "It is because Osborne is nervous of anything that looks like regulation even if there's a very good case for it in green growth terms.

"Osborne quite clearly doesn't get it, he doesn't recognise that by aiming for higher standards, it has a knock-on impact on the supply chain and on green jobs in the product sector."

According to Alker, "It's that nervousness around perceived red tape" that is halting progress on the zero carbon homes commitment.

Conor McGlone


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