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Boris to push for zero carbon homes in London

24 November 2015

London mayor Boris Johnson has indicated that he hopes to push ahead with the zero carbon homes requirement in his London Plan, despite the government abandoning plans to ratchet up Part L and introduce "allowable solutions" to achieve the standard by 2016.

At mayor’s question time last Wednesday (18 November), Johnson was asked by Darren Johnson, who represents the Green Party in the London Assembly, about the key messages he would take to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris next week, where he is due to speak at the C40 Mayors' Forum

The mayor's reply was: “What we are looking at is making sure that we can continue through the London Plan to ensure that zero carbon homes are delivered in London and we will be issuing further guidance in due course to provide industry with the certainty it needs about how to do that.”

In a statement, Darren Johnson said: “I welcome the Mayor’s commitment to continuing with zero carbon homes in the London Plan, in spite of pressure from central government to drop it. But he needs to take the government to task at the Paris Climate Change Summit and highlight the immense damage they are doing in taking Britain backwards not forwards in the battle to tackle climate change.”

See the exchange below

The government target to achieve zero carbon homes in 2016 and non-domestic buildings in 2019 requirement was axed in July 2015, as part of measures to boost economic productivity. 

The government claimed the “allowable solutions” method of reaching zero carbon would impose significant costs and hold back home building.

According to the BusinessGreen website, the mayor originally raised concerns about the abolition of the target in September and said he was working with the government to find a way of ensuring the city could continue to reduce the environmental impact of its building stock.

Chester Balmore by Rick Mather Architects in the London Borough of Camden is built to Passivhaus standards.

Louise Sunderland, senior policy adviser for the UK Green Building Council, welcomed the announcement and said it was clear that many local leaders were keen to retain the standard. “We made clear when the announcement was first made our incredibility at government rolling back on its ambition and it’s hardly surprising that ambitious local leadership wants to keep the standard.

“They understand that industry does need to know where it’s going, particularly in London which has very high land prices and density that does enable the developers to look at district heating. There’s a lot of possibility in London and there is no reason why we can’t drive for these standards.”

Comments

It's no big deal I have been building new individual homes for the last 10 year that are carbon zero locally. When I did my original research I contacted Alistair Darling to advise him, he was Environment Secretary at the time (sic)! He just (or one of his advisers) blamed the European Union for it!!!!!

Keith Jenkinson, 24 November 2015

My feeling is that the government axing this was bad for the industry and certainly bad for home occupiers/owners. The government had set out a long time ago (2007 I think) in a white paper that Zero Carbon Homes would happen in 2016. Construction firms, architects, consultants and building products companies invested significant sums of money to gear up for this requirement as they did for the linked Code for Sustainable Homes only for the rug to be pulled from under their feet. Thus probably many millions have effectively been wasted on this. Home building must not become just be a numbers game, its vital we ensure quality standards are met and construction low energy fabric in order to address fuel poverty and long term rising gas prices. Scrapping zero carbon homes only benefits the profits of end clients and the big house builders, it does a disservice to the occupants who will be locked into higher energy bills for decades. It's very unclear whether Part L will be uplifted even marginally in 2016.

Adam Harper, 26 November 2015

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