Government consults on scrapping proposed restriction on local plan green homes standards

The government is seeking views on whether to scrap a proposed block on councils setting energy efficiency standards for new homes in their local plans at levels higher than existing building regulations.

Green homes: Government moves towards creating new Future Homes Standard
Green homes: Government moves towards creating new Future Homes Standard

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) this week published a consultation creating its new Future Homes Standard via changes to building regulations.

It says the standard will ensure that, by 2025, new homes are "future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency".

The MHCLG consultation document says the move would mean the average home built to the new standard will have 75- 80 per cent less carbon emissions than one built to current energy efficiency requirements.

As part of the consultation, the government is seeking views on whether or not to commence an amendment to the Planning and Energy Act 2008, which would restrict local planning authorities from setting higher energy efficiency standards for new homes.

The 2008 act was intended to enable councils to set requirements for energy use and efficiency in their local plans.

But in 2015, as part of a deregulation initiative, the government announced its intention to remove councils’ ability to set higher energy performance standards than those prescribed building regulations. However, the measure was never implemented.

The consultation says that the current situation "is not only confusing but the application of disparate energy efficiency standards across local authority boundary lines often means that homes need to be built to different technical specifications in different parts of England".

To tackle this, the consultation says that, "as we move to the higher energy standards required by Part L 2020 and the Future Homes Standard, there may be no need for local authorities to seek higher standards and the power in the Planning and Energy Act 2008 may become redundant".

It asks "when, if at all" the government should commence the amendment to the Planning and Energy Act 2008.

The consultation says that the move to create the Future Homes Standard will support its pledge to decarbonise the UK economy by 2050. 

The consultation runs until 10 January 2020. The Future Homes Standard 2019: Consultation on changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for new dwellings can be read here. 


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