To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he will take to ensure that environmentally sustainable building materials, with particular reference to sustainable timber, are used in the construction of proposed new homes in London and the South East as outlined in the report, Sustainable Communities: Homes for All.
The Government are committed to raising the environmental standards to which publicly funded housing is built. All new homes funded by the Housing Corporation will be required to achieve a BRE EcoHomes Good" rating from April 2005. Those delivered by English Partnerships must reach a Very Good" standard.
We are also committed to delivering new homes in London and the South East, as set out in Homes For All to high environmental and sustainability standards. We will achieve this both through raising building standards and also through the Code for Sustainable Buildings, which will be piloted in the Thames Gateway. In particular, the Code will specify a minimum percentage of timber to be acquired from sources that are independently verified as either legal and sustainable or reclaimed.
In addition, in pursuance of its objective to establish a Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs aims to establish in 2005 an inquiry point that will help local authorities and other stakeholders to procure legal and sustainable timber.