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Energy-efficient House Building

Volume 692: debated on Monday 19 April 2021

The future homes standard will ensure that new homes produce 75% less carbon than those being built today. Those properties will be future-proofed, with low-carbon heating and high levels of energy efficiency, and they will not need any further retrofit to become net zero in line with the electricity supply. That is what building back greener looks like.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he has said. As he knows, building regulations are one tool we can use to improve the environmental performance of new homes, and I am conscious that the Government are consulting on how those regulations might be reformed. However, as he also knows, the regulations in place at the moment require compliance by developers to a design standard rather than a performance-in-use standard. Is his Department considering whether that should change? In any event, when does he expect revised and improved building regulations to be in place to compel that improved environmental performance?

My right hon. and learned Friend will be delighted to know that we will update the regulations relating to fuel, power and ventilation this year, in advance of the introduction of the future homes standard in 2025. But we are not waiting for 2025; in the short term, our priority will be to implement an interim 2021 part L uplift. That sounds a bit esoteric, but it means that there will be a 31% reduction in carbon production compared with the 2013 standard. With regard to the point that he makes about performance standard versus design standard, I would be delighted to meet him and his constituent to discuss that further.

The SNP plans, during the next Parliament, to put £1.6 billion into decarbonising the way buildings are heated in Scotland. Ambitiously, that equates to one third of homes by 2030. Why are the UK Government failing to match Scotland’s level of ambition to decarbonise our homes?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. I am slightly disappointed, though. I thought she was going to rise to congratulate us on the social housing decarbonisation demonstrator fund, which has three excellent projects that are being progressed in Scotland. We on the Government Benches have no shortage of ambition to reach our net zero target by 2050. I look forward to working with Opposition Members to ensure we achieve that.