News: Government risks missing CO2 housing targets

Fri, 21 Sep 07

The Government is at risk of failing to meet CO2 targets on new housing, reports Jon Land in www.24dash.com...

In a speech today at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference in Birmingham, chief executive David Orr will warn that the Government is in risk of failing to meet its target of ensuring all new homes are carbon neutral by 2016, reports Jon Land in www.24dash.com.

Orr will reveal that while 92% of housing association new homes are already meeting minimum standards on CO2 emissions, only 2% of new homes built by private developers are also meeting the same targets.  Orr will argue that private developers are lagging behind and that, unless the Government takes action soon, private sector developers will fail to meet the 2016 deadline.

Rules applied unevenly

Housing associations currently build a quarter of new homes in England, with 92% of these homes meeting the Government’s minimum sustainability standards.  From April 2008, ministers have said the same proportion of housing association new-build homes must meet even stricter standards, meaning they will emit 25% less CO2 than conventional homes.  By 2016, housing associations will be obliged to ensure that all their new homes are carbon neutral.

But the Government is not obliging private developers to join the same mandatory timetable, reports www.24dash.com.  Given that only 2% of new private homes currently meet minimum sustainable standards, many doubt that at present rate of progress the Government will be able to meet its stated target of zero carbon emissions from new housing by 2016.

Orr will say: “Currently, private developers are not being compelled to meet minimum standards on greenhouse gas emissions at all. In fact, they are being allowed to put their profits ahead of the survival of future generations.  It’s time that ministers legally locked private developers into the same timetable as housing associations.”

Orr will add: “At the moment, as housing associations are the only ones using sustainable building methods, the supply chain is artificially expensive and housing associations are having to shoulder the cost. This is unfair. And, in effect, ministers are getting us to do the private developers’ research and development on the cheap.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman responded to these criticisms saying: "The fact is that all homes will be required to be zero carbon by 2016 and we are introducing legally binding regulations on the private sector.”

She continued: "Over 150 organisations, including house-builders, have now put their names to the 2016 Commitment to work together to build 240,000 new zero carbon homes a year within a decade. It's ambitious, but it can and will be done."

Currently one third of CO2 emissions come from the nation’s housing stock.

SOURCE: www.24dash.com

Publisher:  Jon Land 

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