Coalition plans nuclear programme and Green Deal
The coalition government has published its programme for the next five years, paving the way for a new nuclear power station programme and pledging a Green Deal to give homeowners access to finance to make their homes more energy efficient.
But Building pointed out that the agreement shed little light on the future of public sector construction. Although the 36 page document confirmed the establishment of a high speed rail network, it gave scant detail on other projects such as BSF.
Meanwhile, the UK Green Building Council warned the coalition agreement's failure to make a specific commitment to zero-carbon falls short of the progressive vision necessary to cut carbon from our homes and buildings.
UKGBC chief executive Paul King told Construction News that much of the programme should be warmly welcomed, such as the Green Deal proposal, which and could lead to huge improvements in housing stock.
But he added: “This was also an opportunity for the coalition Government to commit itself clearly and unequivocally to the target for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings from 2019 – and these targets do not feature in the agreement.”
The UK Green Building Council also said it expects policy on how the new government will roll out a UK-wide home retrofit scheme to be included in the Queen’s Speech.
The document also fulfils manifesto commitments from both parties to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission, set up last year by Labour in part to fast-track the new generation of nuclear power plants.
And it commits the coalition to developing a “smart” electricity grid, funding carbon capture and storage projects, and developing offshore wind generation.
Meanwhile the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors praised the announcement to abolish Home Information Packs.
RICS’ Gillian Charlesworth told Construction News: “HIPs have failed to address the significant problems in the home buying process they were originally supposed to tackle and RICS is pleased that one of the first acts of the new Government has been to clearly show their intention to abolish them.”
Other commitments made in the document include:
- an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium-sized businesses and by publishing government tenders in full online and free of charge.
- reforms to the corporate tax system by simplifying reliefs and allowances in order to reduce headline rates.
- reforming the planning system based on the principles set out in the Conservative's Open Source Planning.