The role of local leadership in creating sustainable homes
In January 2016, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) published a green paper proposing a key leadership role for cities and local authorities in supporting the delivery of sustainable new homes and communities.
The report, 'The role of local leadership in creating sustainable homes', was published following the scaling back of ambitions for zero carbon and sustainable new homes by the national government in recent years.
2015 saw the scrapping of the zero carbon homes target - a policy which had been in place for nearly ten years - and the wind-down of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the key tool that developers and planners used to promote sustainable development in new build housing.
The UK-GBC paper examines:
- What city, combined and local authorities in the UK can do, under their existing powers, to improve the standards of new-build housing in their area.
- How they can proactively use their role as landowners.
- How they could engage with the devolution agenda.
It suggests that local authorities can take a lead by, for example, requiring higher building standards on their own land, using tools like Open Book Viability, running energy companies, and a range of other policy innovations.
It also reviews what devolution deals could offer, considering the potential for cities to develop spatial plans for whole areas; work with industry to develop standards for higher quality homes; and bring budgets together to tackle health and housing issues holistically.
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council said:
“In the current policy landscape, with ambition in sustainable housing at a national level falling short, it is vital we consider how local and city authorities can play a leadership role. This is the only way we will meet our stretching carbon reduction targets and deliver genuinely sustainable places.
“This paper proposes that cities should learn from existing best practices in respect of planning and design tools, and drive up sustainability standards for housing on their own land. It also suggests advocating for new powers under devolution, which would enable them to work in partnership with industry to raise the bar for new-build housing in their jurisdiction. We look forward to the views of stakeholders on our proposals.”
The full green paper is available here: http://www.ukgbc.org/sites/default/files/Role%20of%20leadership%20in%20creating%20sustainable%20homes.pdf
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