The Green Party is calling on Councils to respond to the government’s cancellation of Zero Carbon Homes by specifying ‘Passivhaus’ design standards on Council-owned land and as a condition of sale on all Council land.
Earlier this month, Chancellor George Osborne announced that he will withdraw a commitment to improve the energy efficiency standards of new homes by cancelling an improvement of building regulations scheduled for next year. The announcement has received widespread condemnation from over 200 businesses who have asked the Chancellor to reverse the decision.
Councillor Andrew Cooper, Green Party Energy Spokesperson, condemned the dropping of these higher energy efficiency standards:
“This backwards step by the Government will hardwire higher fuel bills for people living in homes built today. For people on low incomes moving into new social housing this will mean they are more likely to suffer fuel poverty and be faced with the difficult choice of whether to eat or heat their homes.
“The Chancellor is ignoring the reality of climate change by locking us into energy wasteful building standards for many years to come.
“Nearly a decade of work has been carried out by building professionals preparing for the new Zero Carbon Homes standards. The Government has simply wasted the skill and expertise that has been established by industry in preparation for what was mistakenly believed to be a firm Government commitment.”
The Green Party is calling for a cross party campaign by local Councils to specify ‘Passivhaus’ standards on all new homes and buildings constructed on Council land or as a condition of sale on Council land sold for development.
Passivhaus is an internationally recognised standard that typically means that an average household can have heating bills of less than £100/year due to the highly efficient thermal performance.
As an international standard, it is in full compliance with UK Building Regulations and cannot be interfered with by national governments.
“This is the Local Authorities’ own land and there is no reason why Councils cannot decide to adopt more sustainable standards than the unambitious ones specified by the Government. As the Conservatives say they believe in Localism we would expect them to not stand in the way of locally determined targets be they specified in Local Plans or as we are calling for as policy on their own land.”