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Net Zero Emissions by 2050 - What Effect on Housebuilding?

January 2020

The UK has set in law a target to bring all its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – one of the most ambitious targets in the world. Homes – both new and existing – account for 20% of emissions. Despite progress reducing emissions from homes, we need to go much further. New homes being built now and in the next 5-10 years will still exist in 2050 and therefore we must ensure that the energy efficiency standards we set for them put us on track to meet the 2050 target.

The Future Homes Standard – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Oct 2019

It is an ambitious target, set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 (as amended in June 2019) and its aim is to reduce both carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. 

The government’s consultation (which closes in January 2020) sets out alternatives to raise energy efficiency standards and requirements in homes which would form part of building regulations with which housebuilders must comply.  In essence, the government is looking to introduce higher fabric standards in all new build homes: 

The cost of building homes to include either of these options will inevitably be higher.  If either option is introduced, developers will have to factor in the higher standards in their costings when they look to acquire development sites.  This is in addition to planning considerations e.g. requirements to provide affordable housing.  It will have a significant impact on profit margins – and is likely to deter development on sites with smaller margins.

The consultation also envisages that new build homes will not be heated by gas by 2025 and heating in new homes by fossil fuels will be outlawed to reduce emissions. 

Whichever option the government chooses to adopt to move towards the net zero target by 2050, local councils will factor energy efficiency standards in to their local plans and in any planning consents going forward.  Those in the industry will need to adapt to survive.

For more information on this topic please contact fgalloway@prettys.co.uk.

Fiona Galloway

Associate

e fgalloway@prettys.co.uk

t 01473 298239

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