Key Government environmental proposals for new homes welcomed
West Oxfordshire District Council has welcomed Government plans to boost the energy performance of all new-build homes.
The Council has responded positively to a consultation on key proposals forming part of the Future Homes Standard which is being drawn up to ensure significantly higher energy efficiency requirements being incorporated into new homes from 2025.
The consultation proposes changes to building regulations covering conservation of fuel, power and ventilation which are designed to cut carbon emissions from new homes by up to 80 per cent compared to current standards.
But while welcoming the proposals, Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, believes the new benchmarks should be introduced more quickly than 2025 and also disagrees with Government plans to amend the Planning and Energy Act to restrict local authorities’ ability to set higher energy standards for dwellings.
He said: “Local planning authorities have, historically, developed and adopted local energy standards and these have driven developers to design and build to higher standards than those set out in building regulations.
“The ability for a local planning authority to future-proof themselves in the event of changes to Government’s proposals is also important while each area has its own economic, social and environmental characteristics which local planning policies will capture and build on.”
Cllr Harvey added that a key example would be policies for the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village which will need to showcase new, innovative concepts and techniques for a truly sustainable development.
“An ability to set local policies greater than building regulations is fundamental to shaping these new communities,” he said.
Last year the Council pledged to tackle growing concern over the environment by announcing a climate emergency.
Since then a Climate Change Manager has been appointed with Cllr Harvey taking on his newly created role in the Cabinet.