04/02/2020 - Permalink

Shropshire Council responds to Future Homes Standard consultation

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Community / Democracy / Housing

Shropshire Council’s Climate Change Task Force has responded to the Government’s Future Homes Standard (FHS) Consultation saying it does not go far enough and could undermine the potential for improved performance in Shropshire and nationally.

The proposals laid out by the Government set out the energy efficiency standard for new homes from 2025 with an intention to phase them in before then.

The proposals also detail two different scenarios for the interim. The intention being that the chosen interim option would allow the housing industry to build capacity and experience to prepare for the changes in 2025. One scenario involves higher fabric standards including more insulation and triple glazing. The other involves utilising technology to improve energy efficiency ratings. The government states a preference for the second scenario.

Shropshire Council and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) do not support the government preference and instead prefer the first of the option of higher fabric standards.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:

On 17 January 2020, Shropshire Council responded to the Future Homes Standard consultation. The council shares the views of the London Energy Transformation Initiative that the proposals are inadequate and don’t go far enough.

The consultation proposes an up to 80% reduction in carbon emissions from current levels via very high building fabric standards and low carbon heating systems. This means new homes built to this standard might have a heat pump, triple glazing and levels of insulation in the walls, floors and roofs that significantly limit heat loss. However, it does not state that all properties will have these measures.

The proposals also suggest the removal of the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard. Without this standard, it is actually possible to build less energy efficient properties than now and get them to pass building regulations by fitting larger renewable energy systems. This approach means that properties would become expensive to heat. This is likely to increase the levels of fuel poverty within the county. Additional renewable energy capacity might also need to be provided away from the new housing concerned. Shropshire Council strongly believes that building to a zero carbon fabric efficiency standard is the only way to both genuinely reduce energy consumption and significantly reduce the chances of future occupiers experiencing fuel poverty.

The consultation also explicitly removes the right of Local Authorities to set higher than minimum energy efficiency standards (higher standards are likely to increase costs for home builders). This will restrict Shropshire Council’s ability to incorporate ambitious targets in the Local Plan to drive change locally and lead to new homes that are sustainable for the future.

I would strongly encourage Shropshire residents and businesses to take part in the consultation and help us provide a united Shropshire voice toward the proposed standards for future new build properties.

To take part in the consultation, follow this link to the Government website.

The consultation will end on Friday 7 February 2020 and Shropshire Council is encouraging residents in the county to take part and have their say.

For more information about the London Energy Transformation Initiative, visit the website.

Notes to editors

London Energy Transformation Initiative – https://www.leti.london/part-l

Future Homes Standard Consultation – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-standard-changes-to-part-l-and-part-f-of-the-building-regulations-for-new-dwellings

Shropshire Council – http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/