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Sat December 07 2019

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Fossil fuels banned in Future Homes Standard

2 Oct New homes in the UK will not be allowed to use fossil fuel under plans being worked up by the Housing Ministry.

The Future Homes Standard will see polluting fossil fuel heating systems such as gas boilers banned from new homes from 2025 and replaced with clean technology such as air source heat pumps and solar panels.

Views are being sought on how changes to building regulations can drive down the carbon footprint of homes built after 2025 – including changes to the ventilation and efficiency requirements, as well as the role of councils in getting the best energy standards from developers. The consultation1 runs until January 2020.

A further consultation on the Future Homes Standard will follow in the coming months, proposing changes to the energy efficiency standards for non-domestic buildings and for building work to existing homes and non-domestic buildings; and on preventing overheating in buildings.

Ministers will also consult on an overhaul of the planning system, with a green paper to be published next month.

The government has also announced plans for a new national design code – every local authority will be expected to produce its own design guide specifying the local architectural vernacular within the framework of the new national standard.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Building new homes isn’t just about bricks and mortar, I want to ensure everyone – including developers – do their bit to protect the environment and give the next generation beautiful, environmentally friendly homes that local communities can support.

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“That’s why I am requiring carbon emissions are cut by up to 80% from 2025 for all new homes and have published a National Design Guide, setting out simply what we expect from new development.

“We are also reforming the planning system making it faster and more efficient for everyone, from households to large developers, alongside giving families greater freedom to extend their homes to meet their changing needs.”

John Alker, director of policy at the UK Green Building Council, said: “With the UK now legally bound to deliver net zero carbon emissions across the economy by 2050, as a nation we can no longer avoid the crucial role that new homes play in helping to meet this target. This announcement sets out a new and extremely welcome level of ambition from the government, which should see a significant improvement in carbon reductions from new homes in 2020, and important clarity on further improvement in 2025.

“It is also encouraging to see a recognition from government of the importance of clarity for businesses in the construction sector. By setting out a ‘roadmap’ towards the Future Homes Standard in 2025, this should provide confidence in the direction of travel. Many in the industry are still scarred by the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes and Zero Carbon Homes policy in 2015, so government must learn lessons from that, and be absolutely rock solid in its commitment to this agenda.

“There is much work still to do on the detail of these announcements, and there are further challenges ahead associated with addressing the performance gap, unregulated energy and the embodied carbon of new developments. But at long last it appears as though we are heading in the right direction.”

1. The Future Homes Standard: changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new dwellings [click to open link at gov.uk]

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