BSRIA is in support of a report by MPs which “slammed the government for axing its zero carbon buildings policy” and has called for it to be reinstated. An investigation by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee said the decision by the Treasury was one it made on environmental matters “at short notice with little or no consultation with relevant businesses and industries”.
The report found the Treasury had “ridden roughshod” over other departments’ objectives to change and cancel several long-established environmental policies. It observed the conclusion to axe the zero carbon homes policy caused “shock” in the construction industry, including housebuilders, who had been working towards executing the strategy for over a decade.
Back in May, BSRIA issued a statement in support of the House of Lords defeating the government by 48 votes on the zero carbon homes amendment during the report stage of the Housing & Planning Bill. The amendment, drafted for Lib Dem life peer Baroness Parminter and crossbencher Lord Krebs by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE), proposed that all new homes built in England from April 2018 be zero carbon.
Tassos Kougionis, Principal Consultant – Residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said: “This is good news for the industry. Long-term sustainability targets should always be favoured over government short-term priorities, especially if this ensures value for money. Zero carbon buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, are energy efficient, comfortable and contribute positively to the occupants’ wellbeing, all key areas of interest for BSRIA.
Of course we should not forget that along with addressing fuel poverty, energy security and efficient use of resources, zero carbon buildings also support tackling climate change and future proofing our building stock.
Having supported the formal ratification of the Paris climate agreement (the first comprehensive global agreement to tackle climate change), reducing carbon emissions from buildings is crucial to achieving our climate change commitments. Implementing a long term policy as such would also provide industry with the certainty required to continue investing in new skills and technologies vital to our progress as a society.”
The link to the report: House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report
The Zero Carbon Hub worked with the coalition government and the construction industry to create an official definition for zero carbon homes, meaning they could be delivered by mainstream housebuilders and meet the government’s target for all new homes built from 2016 to be zero carbon.