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Tory plans for 'less green' starter homes panned

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The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has slammed the Conservative’s plans to exempt proposed starter homes from zero carbon regs

David Cameron announced plans to build 100,000 new homes for first-time buyers under the age of 40, ahead of the Conservative Party conference which began in Birmingham yesterday (27 September).

The homes would sidestep a range of regulations and taxes often placed on new homes – including affordable housing requirements, community infrastructure levies, and zero carbon homes standards.

Although the long-awaited zero carbon homes standard is set to be introduced in 2016 with the aim of improving energy efficiency, it has already been watered-down to exempt small housing developments.

Environmental groups have been angered by the new move to exempt the new homes from the forthcoming regulation, slamming the plans as ‘short-termist’ and ‘counter-productive’.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, said: ‘This is incredibly short-term and counter-productive thinking. A new zero carbon home is likely to save householders over £1,000 year-on-year on their energy bills compared to a Victorian equivalent, and yet costs builders as little as £3,000 extra to build.

‘Historically there is absolutely no correlation between the standard of building regulations and volume of housing, the issue has been availability of mortgage financing and in some cases planning. There is no reason whatsoever that we shouldn’t expect high quality as well as quantity of homes – as many developers are proving. Relaxing regulations will only advantage cowboy builders who want to turn a quick profit, and leave a generation with a legacy of poorer homes and unnecessarily high energy bills.’

The starter homes built under the Tory’s proposed new scheme would be built on brownfield land no longer needed for industrial or commercial use, enabling them to be sold for 20 per cent below the normal market rate.

Announcing the plans Cameron said: ‘We want to help more young people achieve the dream of home ownership so today I can pledge we will build 100,000 homes for young, first-time buyers. We will make these starter homes 20 per cent cheaper by exempting them from a raft of taxes and by using brownfield land.

‘I don’t want to see young people locked out of home ownership. We’ve already started to tackle the problem with Help to Buy mortgages – and these new plans will help tens of thousands more people to buy their first home.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Well we suffered the Looney cost rising jobs for the boys mobsters and gangsters for 40 years, they tore up Design and Science and lashed out at good technology work we encouraged leaving young people with no University recognition no jobs no schools no homes no food no water no flood protection and then they sat in a desert atoll and bemoaned that as well while attacking us again for helping poor countries and the starving, Dickensian prison camp operators incapable of independent thought. Work House arrangements. All competition money seeking, steal it off genuine employed qualified expert caring staff and make their work impossible and their lives religiously persecuted. The rise of Farage ism. Can't say we shall miss the Environment Gang, my understanding is it is Building Environmental Sciences not terrorism up trees. Design not bullying. At least some people will have planned work and homes at last. They threw millions of people out of work now they are receiving recompense. So would the Environment movement now solve the flood problem properly ? or shut up.

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  • What on earth are you on about?

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