Local planning authorities will no longer be able to impose higher energy efficiency standards for developments than those set out in buildings regulations if recent amendments to the Deregulation Bill, now making its way through parliament, come into force
The communities department (Dclg) has inserted a clause in the Bill to amend the Planning and Energy Act 2008 and prevent local authorities in England imposing their own energy standards. “Government policy is that all such requirements should be set out in building regulations,” states the explanatory note accompanying the amendment.
The energy sector has reacted angrily to the plans. Andrew Warren, director at the Association for Conservation of Energy, said the objective was clearly to stop authorities setting energy efficiency standards for any building that are even marginally higher than those allowed by Dclg.
“[It] is denying any opportunity for more progressive councils to continue setting higher standards than the minimum,” said Warren.
Dave Sowden, chief executive at the Sustainable Energy Association, described the decision to amend the 2008 Act as wrong. “It is perverse to drop the energy efficiency provisions – the most cost-effective component of the Act.”
Dclg had put forward its proposals in a consultation last year. The Dclg reports that 63% of those responding to the consultation were in favour of moving to a building-regulations-only approach, but acknowledged that the energy sector was opposed to the proposal by nine to one.
It said that organisations responding from the renewable energy and consultancy sectors wanted the government to make a firmer commitment to delivering zero carbon buildings before local standards were removed.