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Rented Housing: Carbon Emissions

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made towards the target for all new (a) private sector and (b) social rented housing to be zero carbon by 2016. (286524)

The Government announced in July 2007 that all new homes will be zero carbon from 2016. Following a consultation paper released last December, I made a written ministerial statement to the House announcing further decisions on the definition of zero carbon homes on 16 July 2009 Official Report, columns 43-44WS. A summary of consultation responses and updated impact assessment were published on the same day see:

www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/theenvironment/zerocarbonhomes/

Government continue to support the transition to low and zero carbon homes in a number of ways:

in my 16 July 2009 statement, I announced the first four pioneering locations for eco-towns in England and the publication of the planning policy statement on eco-towns. Eco-towns will demonstrate the highest levels of sustainability and will be zero carbon across all the town’s buildings;

the Technology Strategy Board is working with partners to enable it to harness the market for environmentally sustainable buildings, since 2004 investing £46 million in this area. Under its Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform a further total of £50 million is now earmarked for allocation to research relevant to new build by 2011. This includes over £30 million of capability building work to be awarded over the next two years and up to £8.5 million in new build demonstration programmes;

the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) provides a single national standard to guide industry in the design and construction of sustainable new homes. Recently, post-construction certificates were issued for the first homes built to Code level 6 (zero carbon achieved on-site or via private wire);

the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Carbon Challenge programme aims to accelerate the home building industry’s response to climate change by building homes that reach Code level 6. Four new communities are planned which will together provide around 1,700 zero carbon and highly sustainable homes. Work on the first site at Hanham Hall, near Bristol, is expected to start in late 2009;

Budget 2009 announced a £400 million Kickstart Housing Delivery programme targeted at currently stalled sites, to support construction of high quality mixed tenure housing developments. This amount was subsequently increased under the Housing Pledge as part of Building Britain’s Future last month. Homes built to higher levels of the Code are encouraged under this programme;

my Department is providing funding support to the Zero Carbon Hub, the industry-led delivery body for zero carbon homes. The Hub reports to the 2016 Task Force, which I jointly chair with the Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation and which provides strategic oversight of our zero carbon homes policy;

stamp duty land tax exemption or reduction is available for the first acquisition of a zero carbon home.

In relation to social housing:

social housing funded under the National Affordable Housing Programme is required to meet level 3 of the Code. The HCA is reviewing the timetable for requiring housing funded under this programme to be built to higher levels of the Code;

Budget 2009 announced £100 million of new funding for local authorities to deliver new social housing at higher energy efficiency standards. This funding has been increased under the Housing Pledge to enable up a four-fold increase in new social homes to be built by local authorities.