Respond to Future Homes consultation by 7th Feb

There is a government consultation at the moment on the standards for new build houses. 

New houses starter homes all with solar black PV panels Persimmon Greenacres Bishops Cleeve Cheltenham UK

here is already a real problem with planning in that councils can (and do) approve houses that are not fit for the future in terms of real sustainability and becoming carbon neutral any time soon.  The new building regulations which are currently out for consultation (Consultation form here) may actually make this situation worse, allowing houses that currently wouldn’t pass building regulations for environmental reasons, to pass building regulations.

Local example: Judith Allinson (GC editor) writes:

Our District Council (Craven in N Yorks) declared a climate emergency in August last year and aim for the district to be carbon neutral by 2030. Two weeks ago a local meeting organised by: “Action on Climate Emergency Settle” invited Craven District Councillor’s lead officer for the climate emergency action plan, and also a District Councillor to speak at the meeting.

I asked these two men “Why does the council not set the regulations and agreements with the developers so that ALL new houses built from now on have to be carbon neutral?” They replied that they were tied by the government’s regulations.

So I see it is vital that the regulations become much more effective

You can find more details on the problems with the proposal and how to respond to the consultation: HERE on the LETI site LETI is a group is made up of developers, engineers, housing associations, architects, planners, academics, sustainability professionals, contractors and facilities managers.

There is more information on this facebook link.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ZCB2030/permalink/10157867704241382/

And this article in the Guardian:

As the facebook post writer states:

“The proposals for Part L 2020 are likely to result in a step backwards, in a climate where we need a huge leap forward. A strong consultation response by the industry on Part L is required, with a dramatic shift needed- otherwise we will not meet our climate change targets. Influencing this regulation may be the greatest change that you could personally make in terms of reducing carbon emissions.”

The deadline for consultation response is Friday 7th February.

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Example letter

Time is short till 7th Feb: you might like to make use of some of the text below written by Green Christian member Mark Boulton to his MP, so that you can write to your own MP, and to your District Council and your Parish Council.

Dear …….. MP


LETI – Building Regulations Part L and F Consultation

I am seriously concerned about the government’s proposals for the Future Homes Standard, which sets out energy efficiency and carbon emission standards for new homes.

The proposals will allow new homes to be built to lower energy efficiency standards than homes built today. This is a depressing step backwards rather than the huge leap forwards we need to take in the face of the climate emergency. When I built my house in Mickleton in 2013/14, I followed the then government programme which set out to achieve all new domestic buildings becoming zero carbon by 2016. There was also a ‘Green deal’, though hardly a very inspiring one, to assist this with by providing advice and potentially some financial support. This has totally disappeared from the radar and current proposals by a government claimed by its leader as ‘going to be the cleanest, greenest government ever’ are going backwards, just at the time when as a country, we need to be seriously addressing climate change. 

My primary concerns are:

1. The Future Homes Standard no longer target zero carbon emissions.
It will even cause an increase in carbon emissions compared with the current Part L (the national building standard on energy efficiency and carbon emissions).  This approach is unnecessarily complex and fails to respond to the UK’s legal commitment to achieve carbon zero by 2050 which most scientists believe is nowhere ambitions enough anyway.  

2. The Future Homes Standard does not prioritise energy efficiency.
Instead it relies on bolt-on technologies to reduce emissions.  This approach ignores issues like fuel poverty and occupant health, and will almost certainly mean new homes are more expensive to run. To meet carbon zero standards they will have to be retrofitted not long after they’re built – at a far greater cost.

3. The Future Homes Standard wants to take away local authorities’ powers to demand greater energy efficiency 
Some forward looking district councils – and I am please to see the direction Stratford is taking, are already looking at ways of reducing carbon emissions. I am pleased to be able to say that the local Building Control (unlike the Planning Authority) was both very interested (we used some emerging technologies) and supportive – recommending the house for an sustainability award since it went well beyond the then the building regulations.  The current proposals will not only prevent cities from reaching their own zero carbon targets but will send the more ambitious councils backwards compared to what they’re achieving today.

4. The Future Homes Standard makes no requirement for post-occupancy monitoring. 
Currently most houses do not actually meet the energy efficiency standards they are designed to. Without monitoring, we will be unable to measure or ensure compliance with the building regulations.

5. The Future Homes Standard does not consider embodied carbon. 
This is the carbon emissions related to building the house – the energy involved in manufacturing and transporting the materials used to build it. I sourced almost all my materials locally. Reducing embodied carbon is the necessary next step to reduce carbon emissions quickly.

If the UK is serious about climate change, then these concerns must be understood and discussed by politicians, so that they are seriously addressed as part of the consultation. 

If you would like further information, LETI, a voluntary organisation comprising engineers, architects and other industry professionals have carried out extensive research on this subject.  They have also prepared a response to the Future Homes Standard consultation: https://www.leti.london/

I hope this email will receive the consideration it deserves

LETI launched a guide on 27 Jan – Do read it.

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Author: Editor 1 | Date: 3 February, 2020 | Category: Action Climate Change Climate Emergency Energy | Comments: 2


Comments on "Respond to Future Homes consultation by 7th Feb"

Roy Little:

February 8, 2020

Sustainability and zero carbon should be the basic standard for all new building.

Roo Stewart:

February 4, 2020

Thanks for sharing. This link works better on my system: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-standard-changes-to-part-l-and-part-f-of-the-building-regulations-for-new-dwellings Roo


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