The Queens speech has created alarm amongst green groups, as the BBC reports:
Changes to house-building rules may have more environmental significance. Ministers fear that rules imposed on developers are stunting home-building. The government has already lowered Labour’s Zero Carbon homes standard, which demanded that new homes should be ultra-efficient and generate much of their own power. Now the policy will be weakened again because house-builders on small sites will be exempt from the standards expected of large house-builders.
Ministers have not defined what constitutes a small site, but experts warn that it could lead to up to 40% of new homes in the UK being built to standards which may be greatly improved on previous years, but slip behind the best in Europe. Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said small developments should not be exempt from the higher standards: “Zero carbon homes save a fortune for households in energy costs and are better for the environment,” he said.
Back in 2006, the government envisaged that all new homes would be as efficient as the Lighthouse at the Building Research Establishment, which saves carbon emissions and is said to have power bills of £40 a year.
Comment Hardly surprising that in its dash for house building that standards have slipped. The coalition Government has been as green as a lawn – looks green but its in reality an ecological desert!
Investment in more environmentally friendly development is important, although retro-fitting the existing housing stock would have more impact. That would have been a good way to invest in the future and get the economy out of recession in the bad old days, but its a return to the bad old ways of a house price boom and consumer spending!