Govt definition of zero-carbon ‘too restrictive’

A £15m Government project to stimulate the building of new zero-carbon homes has resulted in the completion of just 15 homes which meet Ministers' definition of "zero-carbon" in its first year.


Figures revealed by Treasury Minister Ian Pearson show that only a handful of new homes qualified, according to The Times.

Gordon Brown in his last Pre-Budget Report as Chancellor in November 2006 that most new zero-carbon homes would be exempt from stamp duty from 2007.

The building industry has previously raised concerns that Government’s current definition of “zero-carbon” excludes the use of off-site renewables.

This was backed up by the Callcutt Review of house building, published in November 2007 and a report published in May by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).

Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, said: “As Government was warned in late 2007, the definition of zero-carbon is at present too restrictive.

“This is not about dumbing down the concept of zero-carbon or the level of our ambition – far from it – it is about recognising that developers should be able to achieve the same level of carbon savings but through more flexible means.”

The UK-GBC’s report entitled The Definition of Zero Carbon, warned that up to 80% of new homes would not meet the criteria.

It recommended that off-site renewable energy should be allowed, or that developers could pay into a Community Energy Fund.

However, at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in September this year, Housing Minister Caroline Flint promised a consultation on the final definition of zero-carbon homes.

A spokesman for the UK-GBC told edie: “We hope that the consultation, when it comes out, will be based on [our] report. It should certainly make the definition of zero-carbon more flexible for developers to hit.”

Kate Martin

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie

Subscribe