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Housing: Carbon Emissions

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what financial incentives are available to improve the efficiency of low carbon building projects in (a) England and (b) Buckinghamshire. (255385)

There are several financial incentive schemes at national and local levels which support energy efficiency and low carbon building projects. These are summarised as follows:

England

Landlords Energy Saving Allowance—A financial incentive introduced in 2004 to encourage landlords to invest in the energy efficiency of their properties. It offers a deduction against taxable profits for private landlords' expenditure on cavity wall, loft, solid wall and hot water system insulation as well as draught-proofing.

Low Carbon Buildings programme—The Low Carbon Buildings programme was launched in 2006. It is the Government’s £86 million capital grant programme funding the installation of on-site technologies for householders, communities, public sector and businesses. Over £42 million has been committed to 9,505 projects in England so far.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Exemption—Stamp Duty relief for zero carbon homes was announced in Budget 2007 to act as an incentive to developers of new zero carbon homes. The exemption covers the first acquisition of a zero carbon home costing up to £500,000. For homes costing in excess of £500,000 there will be a reduction of £15,000. The exemption is in place for all new homes for a period of five years ending on 30 September 2012.

Other programmes which can provide financial support include:

Act on CO2/Energy Saving Trust—In April 2008, the Government launched an advice line which offers a “one-stop-shop” for advice and tips on reducing carbon emissions and saving energy in the home with £26 million of support.

Decent Homes programme—The Decent Homes Standard includes a thermal comfort element that requires efficient heating and effective insulation in homes. From 2001-2007 the Government have spent £4 billion on heating and insulation as part of the wider Decent Homes programme.

Buckinghamshire

The Low Carbon Buildings programme (see above) has committed over £500,000 to 140 projects in Buckinghamshire so far.

All Buckinghamshire local authorities, and Milton Keynes, are participating in a region-wide programme designed to retrofit energy efficiency measures to existing private housing. Alongside funding made available for authorities to make their council housing decent my Department's “Private Sector Renewal” initiative provides funding through the Regional Housing Pot for authorities to cut household CO2 emissions by providing a range of services such as loft and cavity wall insulation, energy efficient boilers and renewable energy technology. The Thames Valley partnership is focusing its resources on an innovative loan facility, “the Flexible Home Improvement Loan”. The Thames Valley-wide consortium has £7 million to spend over two years.

Milton Keynes Offsetting scheme—this is a local authority scheme whereby new housing that does not meet a stipulated level of the Code for Sustainable Homes is charged a levy that goes into a local retrofitting fund. Local sources suggest that this will create a funding pot of around £2 million for the improvement of the borough’s housing stock.