UK homes threatening climate targets

21st February 2019

Web eco home istock 901093568

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Construction ,
  • Planning ,
  • Energy ,
  • Technology ,
  • sea ice loss


Andrew Preston

The UK cannot meet its legally binding climate change targets unless almost all CO2 emissions from buildings are eliminated, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned.

In a report published today, the watchdog said that emission cuts in homes have stalled, while energy use, which accounts for 14% of total emissions, increased between 2016 and 2017.

And the government is singled out for blame after key energy efficiency policies like the 'zero carbon homes' scheme were scrapped, while adaptation measures are not “anywhere near“ the required level.

Around 4.5 million homes overheat, UK water consumption is higher than many other EU countries, and 1.8 million people live in areas at significant risk of flooding, the CCC added.

“Major improvements in how we design, build and use our homes are needed to meet these challenges, said Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC's adaptation committee.

“As the climate continues to change, our homes are becoming increasingly unsafe. This will continue unless we take steps now to adapt them for higher temperatures, flooding and water scarcity.“

The damning report describes policies to encourage property flood protection and water efficiency as “weak or non-existent“, while building standards are “inadequate, overly complex and not enforced“.

In response, thee CCC calls on the government to launch a nationwide training progamme to improve a skills gap in housing design, construction, and installation of new technologies.

It recommends that no new homes be connected to the gas grid after 2025, and that new building standards be complimented with widespread inspection and enforcement, and stiffer penalties for non-compliance.

There are also retrofitting measures outlined in the report, along with finance and funding suggestions, such as green loans to cover the upfront costs of home sustainability improvements.

“We have highlighted the need for appropriate sources of finance and funding, and a national training programme to ensure we have the building and construction skills required in the UK,“ Baroness Brown said.

“Climate change will not wait while we consider our options – the nationwide shift we need to make UK homes climate-ready must start today.“

Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close