Housing: Standards

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 26th June 2020.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the level of contribution made by local authorities to raising building standards for new dwellings.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the important contribution that the energy efficiency of buildings has to make in meeting it. In October 2019, we launched the first stage of a two-part consultation on Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations. We proposed an ambitious uplift in the energy efficiency of new homes through the introduction of a Future Homes Standard from 2025. We expect that homes built to the Future Homes Standard will have carbon dioxide emissions 75-80 per cent lower than those built to current Building Regulations standards, which means they will be fit for the future, with low carbon heating and very high fabric standards.

We have consulted on a meaningful and achievable increase to the energy efficiency standards for new homes as a first step towards the 2025 standard. The preferred option set out in consultation is a standard that should result in a 31 per cent reduction in emissions, compared to current standards.

We have proposed a stringent minimum standard for energy efficiency, to be applied across the country, to address issues of ambition, consistency, offsetting and targeting. This means that there may no longer be any need for local planning authorities to set higher standards at a local level. Our research suggests that few local planning authorities set higher standards, but those who do often set a 19 per cent improvement over 2013 standards. Our stage-one proposals will see a 31 per cent improvement over 2013 standards. In some local areas carbon offsetting schemes form part of the energy efficiency framework for buildings; and in others energy efficiency standards are targeted at specific kinds of building work. A single, national standard may minimise any confusion and uncertainty for local planning authorities, and better support the growth of supply chains of key products required to deliver the Future Homes Standard.

The Future Homes Standard consultation closed on 7 February. The responses we received will be considered carefully, and a Government response will be published in due course.

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