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Part L delay leads to fears of unsustainable schemes

A delay in the introduction of building legislation Part L has raised fears that developers will rush through non-compliant smaller schemes.

The government had originally announced it would introduce changes to Part L on 1 January 2005, to coincide with the implementation of the European Union's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

However, the date has now been pushed back until at least April 2006, giving some developers the chance to exploit the hold-up.

Architect Duncan Baker-Brown of BBM Sustainable Design, who is a proponent of green architecture and a lecturer on sustainable design, said: 'Developers working on larger housing schemes would have predicted for its implementation - but maybe they'll have the opportunity to squeeze through a couple of small projects now.'

He added: 'I do think it's slightly irritating from my point of view because we're trying to get builders and developers to build in an environmentally sustainable way and the only way that it's happened in the past is through the introduction of new legislation.'

A spokesman for the ODPM confirmed that there is due to be an announcement explaining Part L, which deals with the conservation of fuel and power in buildings, later this summer.

He maintained that the government was still on track for its incorporation by spring/summer 2006, 'two years ahead of the deadline specified by the European Union' although much later than the building industry had previously expected.

The ODPM spokesman continued: 'Because of extensive consultation it was felt necessary to take all of the responses into account before we could produce a detailed document. And we have to allow enough time for the industry to get acquainted with relevant elements of the legislation.'

by Rob Sharp

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