Don’t cap climate ambition for new homes

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has called upon the government not to restrict local ambition on climate change targets when drawing up guidelines for new build homes.

The organisation made the appeal in its response to new government proposals for improving energy efficiency standards in building regulations, which are set out in the Future Homes Standard consultation issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In the consultation, ministers outline proposals to require new build homes to incorporate low carbon heating, as well as to increase energy efficiency standards for new homes by 80 per cent based on the previously issued 2013 guidelines. However, the new plans would also remove the ability for local or combined authorities to set higher energy efficiency standards for their areas, restricting their ability to go faster and further in cutting carbon emissions.

Mayor Paul Dennett, GMCA Lead for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure, said: “These new proposals have improved on existing standards but stopped short of giving us the freedom to go further. Here in Greater Manchester we recognise how important it is to take an integrated approach to infrastructure and the sustainable growth of our city-region – one that includes energy, carbon neutrality, and clean transport links.

“These proposals actually jeopardise our position, where we’ve committed to a target of net zero carbon buildings by 2028, and carbon neutrality by 2038 – twelve years sooner than the national target. We can’t future-proof our places by building new homes today that we already know will need to be retro-fitted tomorrow to meet our targets, especially as our analysis already tells us that we need to retro-fit 61,000 homes per year in Greater Manchester if we’re to meet our 2038 carbon neutrality aspirations.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made similar comments regarding his concerns for the capital.