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‘New Deal’ Risks Locking-In High Carbon Emissions, Say Green Campaigners

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The plan to build thousands of new homes will risk cementing high carbon emissions for many years to come if they are not built with net zero carbon goals in mind, say green campaigners.

The prime minister has allocated £12bn to go towards the building of 180,000 new homes as part of his plans to ‘build, build, build’ to kick-start the UK’s economy. New schools and hospitals will also be built to enhance public services.

However, Boris Johnson’s plan doesn’t satisfy green campaigners, who had hoped that the net zero target by 2050 would be at the forefront of the strategy for rebuilding the economy.

The campaigners, along with housing experts, have warned that new buildings will become a liability if efficiency standards are not raised beforehand.

Speaking to the Guardian, the UK Green Building Council’s policy specialist Jenny Holland said: “Although the prime minister has promised ‘beautiful low-carbon homes’ there is nothing in current government plans that will guarantee that. As currently drafted, the government’s plans would mean a home that would fail current building regulations because of poor fabric could pass the 2020 regulations as long as it had some form of low-carbon heating technology or [solar] PV installed.”

The current system also permits developers to build projects using outdated standards because permission for these projects was obtained several years ago when efficiency standards were even lower than they are today.

Head of politics at Greenpeace UK, Rebecca Newsom, said: “Without any explicit rules insisting they meet zero-carbon standards, the government’s eagerness to build, build, build will only add to the escalating climate crisis and burden new home owners with high heating bills and expensive retrofitting costs in years to come.”

Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, described the plans as ‘another example of short-termism – locking in a problem which future generations, and governments, will have to sort out at much higher cost’.

E3G thinktank’s associate director, Ed Matthew, said: “This is the biggest and most important building challenge we face. A massive retrofitting programme to decarbonise UK homes can boost the economy, create over 200,000 jobs across every part of the UK, and reduce NHS costs [by providing warmer housing]. Now is the time to make it the UK’s top infrastructure priority. Its absence is a gaping chasm in the prime minister’s vision.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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