Chancellor urged to reverse decision on the dismantling of zero carbon policy

Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to reconsider plans to scrap zero carbon homes policy
Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to reconsider plans to scrap zero carbon homes policy
Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to reconsider plans to scrap zero carbon homes policy
Chancellor George Osborne is being urged to reconsider plans to scrap zero carbon homes policy

More than 200 businesses from across the construction, property and renewable energy industries have urged Chancellor George Osborne to reconsider the Government’s “sudden U-turn” on zero carbon policy.

In his new productivity plan, “Fixing the foundations”, Mr. Osborne unexpectedly announced the Government would not proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme affecting house-building, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards.

In an open letter to the Chancellor, senior leaders from 246 organisations say they were “extremely disappointed” that the policy was being “arbitrarily scrapped” considering various sectors have been preparing for the Government’s long-established target for almost ten years.

They warn that the policy U-turn has “undermined industry confidence in Government” and will “curtail investment in British innovation and manufacturing.”

It is also claimed that there is no evidence to suggest that it will increase housing supply or boost productivity.

They write: “There was a broad consensus in support of the zero carbon policy, which was designed to give industry the confidence it needs to invest and innovate, in order to drive higher energy efficiency standards and low carbon energy solutions.

“Abandoning the zero carbon policy will have regressive impacts and be harmful to British industry.”

The Government’s action to abandon the policy represents a significant loss of investment that has already been put into zero carbon policy. For example, £6.4m – including £3.2m of public funds – was invested in the AIMC4 project within which the house-builders Barratt Developments, Crest Nicholson and Stuart Milne came together to develop low carbon homes to meet future energy efficiency standards. House-builder Stewart Milne has also invested £1million into the research and development of zero carbon homes.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, which coordinated the letter, said: “The speed and the stealth with which this administration has destroyed some of the long-term policies supporting the renewable and low carbon industries has been breath-taking. We have witnessed an unparalleled wave of support from our members and the wider industry who are deeply concerned about how the Government’s sudden, regressive and arbitrary decision to scrap the long established zero carbon policy will impact their business and investment.

“This U-turn not only means our new buildings will be less energy efficient and more costly to run, but it comes at a time when the UK should be taking strong action on climate change ahead of the UN conference in Paris in December. We urge Government to reconsider its position for the sake of future confidence in the UK’s low carbon economy.”

Other signatories calling for the Chancellor to reconsider the U-turn include Dr Joanne Wade, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy; Richard Burnley, managing director of Kingspan Insulation; Rory Moss, managing director of ROCKWOOL; Peter Hindle MBE, senior vice-president, sustainable habitat, Saint-Gobain and general delegate, Saint-Gobain (UK Ireland and South Africa); Ivo Schaedler, general manager of Sika; Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association; and John Frankiewicz, divisional chief operating officer at Willmott Dixon

The decision to scrap the zero carbon homes policy and 2016 energy efficiency target was announced shortly after the Government’s own Committee on Climate Change called for increases in energy efficiency policy.

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