The Labour Party has set out its plans to build more houses, and criticised the coalition government for watering down the planned zero carbon homes standard.
Emma Reynolds, the party’s shadow housing minister, said last week that Labour’s plans would ensure that at least 200,000 homes a year are built through to the end of the decade. And she pledged to set more robust targets for building efficiency after 2016.
Speaking at the Town and Country Planning Association’s Annual Sir Frederic Osborn Lecture, Reynolds said that if Labour is in government after the general election the party would set more ambitious standards in line with the official definition of a zero carbon home.
That means a zero carbon homes standard of at least level 5, with the vast majority of emissions reductions delivered on-site, BusinessGreen reported.
While a focus on numbers is important, a focus on quality is also essential to achieving our wider objectives in other policy areas such as health, the environment and climate change. Designing homes that reduce household energy bills can help eradicate fuel poverty, bring down the cost of living and reduce carbon emissions, the shadow minister explained.
The zero carbon rules are meant to ensure that house builders prioritise green measures such as solar panels and higher levels of insulation.
When the party was last in power, Labour set a target for all new homes to meet the level 6 standard by 2016, but this has been weakened by the coalition. Instead, builders can meet level 4 by 2016 and offset emissions if they are unable to deliver required carbon reductions through on-site technologies. And small housing developments – which account for around one in five new homes – will be exempt from the green building regulations.