Campaigners push for zero-carbon housing policy to be reinstated
With awareness on the increase about carbon-neutral housing, the government is being urged to reintroduce the policy which aimed to ensure all new-build homes are as efficient as common technology will allow.
It’s not unusual for politicians to be voted into power based on promises they never intended to keep, and thereafter be hated by the population for failing to deliver the heaven on earth that he or she promised. In fact, many items on a party’s manifesto get swept under the rug once they take power – and for the most part, the public won’t react. But in a world where green renewable energy is a key focal point for governments around the world, the Tory’s scrapping of their zero-carbon housing policy was bound to come under some criticism.
Originally announced in 2006 under Gordon Brown’s Labour government, the policy was aimed at ensuring that all new-builds would be carbon zero by 2016. As the Conservatives took power, however, it was clear that George Osborne had a different agenda.
Osborne, under pressure from those in the building suppliers industry who rely on older, less environmentally-friendly practices – as well as energy companies who stand to lose millions as renewable energy cuts into their profits – began planning cutbacks in early 2015.
The first plans to be shelved involved the installation of on-shore wind farms (currently the most prevalent free energy source in the UK), closely followed by a hike in taxes for renewable energy projects and construction, ultimately leading to the abolishment of the zero-carbon policy in summer.
A year on, and property selling experts, clean energy campaigners and forward-thinking construction firms are urging for the policy to be reinstated. For many companies, there had been much investment in anticipation of the policy originally being implemented – and when it was withdrawn, many businesses found themselves out of pocket.
MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have found that the government’s decision to axe the policy was hastily made, with little regard to objections they had received from other key departments; effectively ignoring any consultants who failed to toe the line.
“The scrapping of the zero carbon homes policy showed not only an irresponsible disregard for the steps we need to take to tackle climate change, but it also overlooked the years of investment and preparation made by thousands of businesses across the construction supply chain,” said John Alker, campaign and policy director at UK Green Building Council.
“This volatility in the policy landscape is highly damaging to industry, jobs and investor confidence. New homes should keep bills low for households, avoid placing unnecessary burden on national energy infrastructure and should not need to be expensively retrofitted in 15 years’ time in order to meet our carbon targets.”
As the world shifts towards a more carbon-neutral stance, vendors who are looking for a quick house sale should take steps to ensure that their home is as energy efficient as possible – a quality many potential homebuyers take into account when browsing properties. If funds are an issue, however, sellers can always contact property buying companies who will buy any home for cash, regardless of its energy rating.