New homes loophole must be closed - Town & Country supports NHF green homes campaign

From 1 April housing associations like ours are obliged to cut carbon emissions in all new homes by 25% in line with government targets.  We will then be making further cuts in emissions until we achieve zero-carbon housing.

We welcome the challenge, which will not only benefit the environment but will also reduce the fuel bills of our residents.  Homes in the South East region currently emit more than 20 million tonnes of domestic carbon emissions every year.

Figures for 2003 show that the region has more than 187,000 households officially living in ‘fuel poverty’, where people simply cannot afford to keep warm. With rising energy prices this figure is likely to have increased significantly. So the time has never been more urgent.

It is very concerning to us, therefore, that the private developers who build around three quarters of new houses have until 2010 before they have to start cutting carbon emissions. 

They will then be allowed to work to a slower timetable than us as we move towards zero-carbon housing.  This is not only unfair, but will also lead to millions of tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions and keep the green technology industry on hold for another two years.

The National Housing Federation, which represents 1,300 housing associations across the country, will be presenting a petition to the Housing Minister Caroline Flint asking her to commit private developers to the same environmental standards and timetable as the affordable housing sector. 

If you agree with us, please add your name to the petition at www.housing.org.uk/greenhomes.