More than 200 companies from the construction, property and renewable energy industries have urged Chancellor George Osborne to reconsider the controversial decision to scrap the zero carbon homes standard.
Earlier this month, George Osborne unexpectedly axed the policy designed to ensure that all new homes built from 2016 meet zero-carbon standards – together with a policy that applied to all non residential buildings such as offices, schools and hospitals from 2019.
As part of his productivity plan, Fixing the Foundations’ the chancellor stated that:
“The government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards.”
The policy was designed to ensure that from 2016 homes must generate all energy without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Yesterday, in an open letter to the Chancellor, the leaders of 246 organisations declared their dismay at the decision by writing:
“Since the policy was first launched eight years ago, business has invested heavily in preparing for future standards,” with many builders already geared up to meet the challenge.
The letter then goes on to say:
“This sudden U-turn has undermined industry confidence in Government and will now curtail investment in British innovation and manufacturing in low carbon products and services. There is no evidence to suggest it will increase housing supply or boost productivity.”
The letter was signed by property giants Lendlease and Argent, product manufacturers Saint-Gobain and Tata Steel, energy firm E.ON and retailer Whitbread to name just a few. Rob Lambe, managing director of the energy services arm of Willmott Dixon housebuilding, said:
“We have worked tirelessly over the past 10 years, along with our clients, investing tens of millions of pounds to develop detailed solutions required to deliver against the zero carbon homes 2016 policy”
The letter calls on the Chancellor to reconsider the decision and work with business leaders to find a mutually acceptable way forward.