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U-turn is anti-green and anti-growth

The UK Green Building Council has criticised the Government's u-turn on zero carbon homes, which will mean new homes from 2016 will not have to source all their energy from carbon-neutral sources.

UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said the policy u-turn revealed a shocking weakening of the government’s green agenda which would remove a valuable stimulus for low carbon growth.

Paul King said: “In the space of two weeks, this government has gone from a firm commitment on zero carbon homes, to a watered down policy. A zero carbon home will no longer do what it says on the tin. The world leading commitment that new homes would not add to the carbon footprint of our housing stock from 2016 has been scrapped despite a remarkable consensus between industry and NGOs in support of it.

“Thanks to a crude de-regulation agenda we now have a policy that is not only anti-green but anti-growth. Low carbon construction has been one of the few sectors showing genuine green shoots of growth. This u-turn will result in loss of confidence leading to lower investment, less innovation, fewer green jobs and fewer carbon reductions. It is a backward step by a government that wanted to be seen as ‘the greenest ever’.”

In other areas of the Budget, UK-GBC welcomed confirmation that the new Green Investment Bank will be able to borrow but questioned why this should not happen from day one. UK-GBC also welcomed the commitment to incentivise take-up of the Green Deal, although expressed disappointment that the opportunity was missed to set this out in detail.

Paul King said: “The Green Investment Bank is essential to plug the hole in low carbon investment and it is encouraging that this will be a proper bank, able to borrow. Sadly, the bank won’t be able to borrow from day one and it isn’t being used to finance the Green Deal, both of which are missed opportunities. However, there is a commitment from government to introduce incentives to encourage householders and businesses to take up the Green Deal – it’s just a shame this couldn’t have been set out in more detail.”