Government embracing policies of ‘climate delayers’

The Mayor of London has accused ministers of embracing the policies of ‘climate delayers’ by proposing national standards for carbon reduction in new homes that are lower and slower than those already being implemented in London.

The government’s proposed ‘2025 Future Homes Standard’ sets carbon reduction targets for new homes that are 25 per cent lower than London’s ‘Zero-Carbon Home’ standard introduced in the Sadiq Khan’s 2016 London Plan. He has recently said he wants London to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

The Mayor says that the shortfall will be made worse by proposed government amendments to the Planning Act 2008, which would withdraw local authorities’ powers to set tougher carbon reduction building standards than those set by ministers and effectively force London to adopt lower standards and slow its progress towards net-zero carbon emissions.

Khan said: “These shortsighted proposals are another example of how the government is delaying urgent action on the climate emergency we are facing. Hundreds of local authorities across England have declared climate emergencies – yet these proposals would hold back both the councils and developers who want to go further and faster to decarbonise new homes. London has shown how higher carbon reduction targets can be met while still delivering much-needed new homes.

“In a year in which the government is supposed to be showing global leadership on climate change by hosting COP26, the government must show willingness to act and drop these damaging proposals – we cannot go forward by going back.”

Kate Gordon, senior planner at Friends of the Earth, said: "At a time of climate crisis the government needs to be making all buildings energy efficient. Instead it's stifling ambition and innovation that places such as London are bringing about. If the government is serious about the climate emergency it should allow local authorities to set their own planning policies to deliver zero carbon, energy efficient development - as the London Plan rightly seeks to do. Building and development standards everywhere need to be made much tighter, otherwise we're left with homes that will need costly retrofits in the future. It is completely right that we plan and build homes to the highest climate standards.”

Sadiq Khan has written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick asking him to rethink the proposed new targets.