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UK Government To Ditch ‘Zero Carbon’ Home Regulations

Georgia Graham, The Daily Telegraph

Small housing developers will be exempted from new environmental controls to encourage the building of thousands of new homes, under new legislation to be announced in the Queen’s Speech.

In the Budget last year the Government announced that every new home in Britain would have to be built to a “zero carbon” standard by 2016, meaning they produce almost no emissions.

However, in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday the measures will be watered down so that they do not apply to “small sites”, which the house builders say are developments with fewer than 50 homes.

Ministers have are hoping the move will open up the housing market and encourage smaller developers to build more homes.

The new legislation will also exempt larger developers from having to meet the highest level of energy efficiency.

Instead they will be allowed to design homes to a lower standard and off-set the extra carbon the homes produce by paying into a Government fund for energy efficient projects.

The Liberal Democrats, who have championed the legislation, said that the rules would still have an “absolutely massive” impact on the energy efficiency of newly built homes in the UK.

The plans come after David Cameron has vowed to get Britain building with reforms to the planning system that ministers’ hope will see thousands of new homes being built.

Under the plans, which were first announced by Labour in 2006, all new houses were supposed to be “zero carbon” using measures like solar panels, triple glazing and insulation to reduce emissions.

“Zero carbon” houses are supposed to be so energy efficient the only energy they omit is from house hold appliances such as the television and fridge

However developers warned that such stringent demands would lead to a “tsunami” of extra costs for the industry and stunt house building.

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