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Fixing our broken housing market

Government yesterday issued a white paper titled "Fixing our broken housing market". t outlines many areas for encouraging more housing building, with a wide variety of ideas and suggestions. It also interestingly swings towards the rental side of the market, which is a shift in emphasis from normal Conservative Party thinking of solely home ownership. It is perhaps a realisation that there are many people in the country who rent, and also discusses those that cannot currently afford to purchase a home.

We at Elmhurst welcome the white paper, as it identifies the very live issues that this generation faces. We have however picked out the parts that reflect the energy efficiency implications on people’s homes.

There are some very interesting statements made:

Building good quality homes

“1.49 An effective system of Building Regulations and building control is essential to ensuring that homes are built to good quality standards, are safe, highly energy efficient, sustainable, accessible and secure. The fundamentals of the Building Regulations system remain sound and important steps were taken in the last Parliament to rationalise housing standards.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has since looked into the quality and workmanship of new build housing in England. The Government will keep requirements under review, to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and meet future needs. This includes looking at further opportunities for simplification and rationalisation while maintaining standards.”

As an industry we all know that standards need to be maintained, we also note that the rationalisation referred to, certainly for Part L, was to remove any new planned changes towards zero carbon (i.e. making new homes more energy efficient). Government claimed at the time that the scrapping of any ‘new’ Part L targets would ‘Get Britain Building’ again. We would hope that no more watering down of Part L is intended, which to be fair the following point then clarifies:

“1.50 Since 1990, we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of Britain’s new build homes that has helped keep bills as low as possible and cut carbon emissions. But there is more to do, particularly if we want to avoid consumers having to carry out expensive, inconvenient retrofit at a later date. We have started work on a review of the cost effectiveness of current energy performance standards, which will have due regard to our domestic fuel poverty and climate change targets. We will consult on improving requirements on new homes this Parliament if evidence suggests that there are opportunities to do so without making homes less affordable for those who want to buy their own home. More detail will be set out in the Government’s forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan.”

Overall we welcome the white paper and we look forward to seeing the detail in the ‘Emissions Reduction Plan’.


The White Paper can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590043/Fixing_our_broken_housing_market_-_housing_white_paper.pdf

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