Scrapping zero carbon home target "harmful to industry"

20th July 2015

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  • Management/saving


Edward Pilcher

More than 200 businesses have written to chancellor George Osborne urging him to reconsider the government's decision to abandon the zero carbon homes target.

Signatories include the British Property Federation, E.ON, Kingspan Insulation, Lendlease, Tata Steel and Willmott Dixon.

The letter states that the property and energy-efficiency sectors have invested “tens of millions of pounds” in research and development to meet the target, and says the u-turn has undermined industry confidence in government.

It also warns that the decision will curtail investment in British innovation and manufacturing. There is no evidence to suggest it will increase housing supply or boost productivity, the letter adds.

Removing the target will make homes, commercial buildings and manufacturing facilities more expensive to operate and runs counter to advice on meeting emissions reduction targets from the Committee on Climate Change, the businesses say.

The move to scrap the target, along with a similar policy that applies to all new non-residential buildings from 2019, was announced in the chancellor’s productivity plan. The document did not provide a reason for the decision, but stated: “Existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established.”

The decision was “sudden, regressive and arbitrary”, according to Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). It took the industry by surprise as the government had not carried out any consultation on the issue.

“The speed and stealth with which this administration has destroyed some of the long-term policies supporting the renewable and low carbon industries has been breathtaking,” Hirigoyen said.

There has been an “unparalleled wave of support” from both members and the wider industry who are deeply concerned about the decision, she added.

Rob Lambe, managing director of the energy services arm of the construction firm Willmot Dixon, said: “We have worked tirelessly over the past 10 years, along with our clients, investing tens of millions of pounds to develop detailed solutions required to deliver against the zero carbon homes 2016 policy.”


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