Calls for gov to increase environmental standards policy

Over 50 influential business leaders from across the construction and property industry have signed an open letter to ministers urging the government to introduce policy that will see all new buildings built to net-zero carbon standards by 2030.

The letter, addressed to Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, featured a large number of notable signatories from across the built environment value chain, including: REITS and institutional investors, volume housebuilders and property developers, manufacturers, engineers, architects and consultants.

As a first step towards the 2030 goal, the group calls on the government to swiftly confirm that from 2020 energy performance standards will be significantly improved.

Coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the letter asks ministers to give the industry medium and long-term policy certainty, to drive significant investment and catalyse innovation.

The built environment has a huge part to play in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. We recognise this, the government’s independent advisors – the CCC – recognise this, and as this letter demonstrates, the industry recognises this. Time and again UKGBC members tell me they are looking to Government to provide policy certainty in order to drive investment and catalyse innovation. We have not seen changes to Building Regulations since 2014, and the scrapping of the zero carbon policy in 2015 was both confusing and unnecessary. We’ve heard a lot from government recently on the environmental agenda, with some impressive commitments in the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. Now it’s time for the government to act on those commitments, with the industry’s backing, and put policy in place to turn their low-carbon aspirations into reality.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC

Read the full letter here

Incentivising Environmental Change for the Private Rental Sector

The NLA agrees with the notion that the government could do more on carbon emissions and be more ambitious with energy legislation, with the upcoming MEES regulations allowing for landlords to register a 5-year exemption if they cannot fund the necessary energy improvements from third-party sources, such as a Green Deal plan, a local authority grant or the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.

However, the Government is consulting on plans to remove the “no-cost” exemption and to replace it with a “cost cap”. If the plans go ahead, possibly from as early as April 2019 landlords will be expected to be up to £2,500 per property to reach an EPC rating of E.

Instead of a punitive cost-cap the NLA is calling for the Government to incentivise landlords to make improvements by reintroducing the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance (LESA) as the most effective way of reaching its targets.

The NLA argues that if the Government’s intention is to tackle fuel poverty it needs to get energy efficiency improvements to be made across the whole sector, not just F & G rated properties. As the MEES consultation’s Impact Assessment points out, 89% of fuel poor households are in properties with an EPC rating of E or above, risks the costs being passed on to tenants or the removal of much needed affordable housing from the sector.

We are calling on the Government to take the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of our country’s housing stock seriously. Simply placing yet more costs on landlords is an entirely unambitious proposal that does nothing to help improve the properties where the vast majority of fuel-poor households live. The Government should listen to the voices of stakeholders from across the political spectrum who are desperate for some positive and supportive action to be taken to incentivise the change we want to see.”k in supporting our member landlords and their business, and making their lives easier.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA said

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