That is the opinion of the National Housing Federation (NHF), which is campaigning for the Government to place more stringent green construction targets on the private sector and include them in the Climate Change Bill.

The NHF, which represents England’s housing associations, said the private sector is currently so far behind housing associations, they are likely to miss Government targets to build zero-carbon homes by 2016.

From next April, housing association new homes will have to emit 25% less CO2 than conventional homes, and the NHF criticised the Government for giving the private sector an extra two years to meet the same target.

Chief executive David Orr said: “We are concerned that because private developers are not being compelled to build to the same tough standards as us, many more carbon emissions will be pumped into the environment than would otherwise be the case.”

The NHF added that because housing associations are the main purchasers of sustainable building materials, such as super thick insulation, solar panels and wind turbines, the supply chain is more expensive than it should be.

However, the Home Builders Federation has rejected the NHF’s claims, labelling them “deeply unhelpful”.

Executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “The Government’s policy is to initially promote higher standards through public housing.

“These standards apply to all developers, including private developers delivering affordable housing.

“Imposing stringent and overbearing regulations on developers beyond this policy would ultimately lead to fewer homes being built not more.”

An NHF poll found that 72% of homeowners and buyers are in favour of including targets for private developers to build greener homes in the Climate Change Bill.

Kate Martin

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