The UK Government has dropped policies designed to improve the energy efficiency of new building developments.
It said last week that it will no longer introduce regulations on zero carbon homes in 2016 and zero carbon non-domestic buildings in 2019. The planning regulations were drawn up under the previous coalition government.
The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) strongly criticised the announcement. Its chief executive, Julie Hirigoyen, said: Let us be in no doubt this announcement is the death knell for zero carbon homes. It is short-sighted, unnecessary, retrograde and damaging to the house building industry, which has invested heavily in delivering energy efficient homes. Britain needs more housing but there is no justification for building homes with a permanent legacy of high energy bills.
The announcement by the Treasury stated that the Government does not intend to proceed with the Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed plans to tighten on-site energy efficiency standards in 2016.
Officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed separately that the zero carbon policy for non-domestic buildings will also be ditched, UK-GBC reported.
Rob Lambe from housebuilder Willmott Dixon said that the decision seriously undermines industry confidence in government policy and will diminish future investment.
That sentiment was echoed by Paul King from property developer LendLease Europe, who said: Industry needs as much policy clarity and consistency as possible in order to invest and innovate, and after almost ten years of commitment and progress, UK house builders and developers have come a very long way. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Government has today removed a world-leading ambition for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.