As the Government drops plans to implement changes to Part L of the Building Regulations in 2013, Knauf Insulation is warning that there will be grave implications for the drive towards zero carbon homes.
In a response to the Part L consultation that took place over a year ago, Baroness Harman has revealed that the changes will come into in effect in April 2014 – six months later than previously expected, in a delay that will seriously hamper efforts to achieve zero carbon for all new homes by 2016.
What’s more, the changes fall short of the improvements laid out in the initial consultation. The energy efficiency standards for new homes have been scaled back to just six per cent above the 2010 regulations (as opposed to the eight per cent figure recommended in the original consultation), while the requirements for non-domestic properties have more than halved from a 20 per cent improvement to only nine per cent (again compared to 2010 standards.)
John Sinfield, Managing Director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, commented: “This delay is yet another example of the ‘greenest government ever’ dragging its feet when it comes to making any real or decisive changes towards improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. Indeed, the whole timescale for achieving zero carbon is in danger of being derailed by Government delays and setbacks.
“On top of that, the revisions are meaningless in a housing market where it is still possible to buy a house that is built to 2003 standards. As new buildings are constructed to planning legislation put in place several years earlier, perhaps we should really be asking ourselves whether we will see any homes built to zero carbon standards before 2020?
“If the Government is truly serious about meeting its carbon reduction obligations then decisive action needs to be taken to improve the efficiency of ALL the UK’s housing stock, both new build and refurbishment. This could be achieved by removing the need for a Green Deal provider signature to access retrofit cash back incentives or introducing other ‘demand drivers’ such as linking Stamp Duty to the property’s energy efficiency performance.”