The government’s plans to ‘water down’ its commitment to making all homes zero carbon by 2016 have been given the go-ahead
Small housing developments of fewer than 10 homes have been made exempt from incoming zero carbon requirements in a move which sees the government back-pedal on its promise that all new housing should meet stringent energy efficiency standards.
The rules will also see developers able to offset a scheme’s carbon emissions through ‘allowable solutions’, effectively letting a developer buying its way out of adopting zero carbon standards.
The exemption, which was first mooted in the Queen’s speech in June 2014, was confirmed in a statement by communities secretary Eric Pickles.
It could see around 20 per cent of all new housing developments exempt from the standards which are set to come into force in 2016.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles, said: ‘We have decided there will be an exemption for small housing sites of 10 units or fewer, which are most commonly developed by small scale home builders and can be more expensive to develop irrespective of the size of the builder, from the allowable solutions element of the zero carbon homes target.
‘This means that all new homes will be required to meet the strengthened on-site energy performance standard but those building on small sites will not be required to support any further off-site carbon abatement measures.’
But the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has vocally campaigned against the move.
Last year it said the move was ‘deeply worrying’ and risked ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by letting small developments – a large chunk of the housebuilding market - off the hook’.