Zero Carbon?

The government has made the shock announcement that it will be scrapping the zero carbon policy for new homes in 2016, and has also confirmed that it will not be going ahead with the zero carbon policy for non-domestic buildings in 2019.

The move has been stated as a way to get new homes built without the financial barriers that zero carbon initiatives place on developers. But the news has prompted strong responses from house builders and industry bodies on the short sightedness of the moves. 

The government says that both the allowable solutions scheme which enabled developers to offset greenhouse gas savings where it was not cost effective to do so on-site, and plans to make on-site energy efficiency standards more strict in 2016 will be dropped. It reneges significantly on the governments promises around home energy efficiency and forces home owners into years of paying more for their energy bills then they would need to under the previous commitments.

Officials at DCLG, which leads on energy efficiency measures, have also confirmed that the zero carbon policy for non-domestic buildings will also be dropped. This has left business confused and after setting their own policies for a managed way to meet the 2019 targets.

Where now for zero carbon targets and actioning climate change policies? I’m confused and this is mirrored in statements from industry bodies such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the house builder Willmott Dixon.