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Last edited 23 Jan 2021
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on Sustainability and HM Treasury
On 25 November 2016, BSRIA announced its support for a report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee criticising the government for scrapping the zero carbon buildings policy and calling for it to be reinstated.
The Environmental Audit Committee considers the extent to which policies and programmes contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and to audit performance against sustainable development and environmental protection targets.
The report Sustainability and HM Treasury, Fifth Report of Session 2016–17, Published on 17 November 2016, said a series of decisions by the Treasury had been made ‘at short notice with little or no consultation with relevant businesses and industries’. It found the Treasury had ridden roughshod over other departments’ objectives and had caused shock in the construction industry.
In relation to the scrapping of the zero carbon buildings policies, it suggested that the decision ‘…surprised and in some cases angered many in the industry ...because it had been working towards implementing the policy for over a decade. There is a risk that costs to the economy and householders will increase in the long-term as a result of the last minute decision because new homes will need to be retrofitted to improve their energy efficiency and therefore contribute towards meeting the UK’s 2050 carbon targets. The decision harms the development of new markets for innovative energy-saving products, and wastes years of the industry’s sunk costs. We recommend that the Government reinstate the zero carbon standard for new homes.'
Tassos Kougionis, Principal Consultant – Residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said: “Long-term sustainability targets should always be favoured over government short-term priorities, especially if this ensures value for money. Zero carbon buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, are energy efficient, comfortable and contribute positively to the occupants’ wellbeing …along with addressing fuel poverty, energy security and efficient use of resources, zero carbon buildings also support tackling climate change and future proofing our building stock.
"Having supported the formal ratification of the Paris climate agreement (the first comprehensive global agreement to tackle climate change), reducing carbon emissions from buildings is crucial to achieving our climate change commitments. Implementing a long term policy as such would also provide industry with the certainty required to continue investing in new skills and technologies vital to our progress as a society.”
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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