Welsh announce plans for new green building rules

A series of planned measures announced by the Welsh Government this morning (July 9) will mean new buildings in the country will have to be greener.

Wales will take over powers for new building regulations on December 31 2011 giving the Welsh Government the legal right to put greener construction rules in place.

The Government says it will consult on detailed proposals during 2012 with plans to put new greener construction rules in place for 2013.

Welsh environment minister, Jane Davidson, announced the measures, which she hopes will not only cut carbon emissions but also boost the economy.

Part of the new measures will see new flats and houses built with combined heating, lighting and hot water bills as low as £7.50 a week by 2013, according to Ms Davidson.

Welsh builders will be legally required to use a combination of green technologies including heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar hot water and higher building standards will help achieve lower carbon emissions and fuel bills.

Ms Davidson emphasised the need to ‘strike the right balance’ between Wales’ ambitious agenda on climate change and setting standards that did not make the cost of new building ‘prohibitively expensive’ with the risk of stalling the housing market and losing the social value of new housing.

Ms Davidson said: “My approach is ambitious but pragmatic. My department has been working to identify the policy ‘sweet spot’ – the standard that gives us the most progressive response to climate change we can manage but allows for a healthy construction and property sector.

“The task in setting a target for the first changes has been to find the most environmentally progressive balance between reducing energy demand and maintaining a healthy housing market attractive to construction companies and developers.”

Ms Davidson set out the targets during a visit to a ‘super green’ housing development in St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Chapel Close is a development of 16 houses and apartments which have been made available for affordable rent to residents with a local connection.

Luke Walsh

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