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Zero carbon homes policy ‘in tatters’, says SEA

SEA chief executive Dave Sowden
SEA chief executive Dave Sowden

The industry has reacted with dismay at the recent decision, announced in the Queen’s speech, to water down previous intentions for energy requirements of new homes from 2016.

The announcement confirmed a significant scaling back of the original intention that all new homes built from 2016 onwards would be ‘zero carbon’. Instead the government has now confirmed that only a 44 percent reduction in CO2 emissions will be required, and that this will only apply to 30 percent of new homes built.

Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said: “This latest announcement leaves the zero carbon homes policy in tatters. It only applies to 30 percent of the market, and it seems the government is content to settle in 2016 at a level of ambition the previous government set out to achieve by 2013.

“At times when household energy bills are right at the top of consumer concerns, this policy will mean higher energy bills are locked in for decades to come, and create a need for a future generation to retrofit those homes if we are ever to decarbonise the housing stock permanently.

“This government has consistently restated its commitment to zero carbon homes by 2016. The government’s own figures do not stack up, do not follow their own guidelines, and use incorrect industry data. Ministers are being wholly disingenuous with the public in claiming that today’s announcement gets anywhere close to fulfilling that commitment. More seriously, this marks another nail in the coffin of investor confidence for the energy-related parts of the construction industry’s supply chain.”