Local government leaders: Don’t hold us back on green homes

An open letter to Dominic Raab from local government asking for support in efforts to cut carbon emissions from new build homes

A group representing ambitious cities and local authorities has sent an open letter to the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Dominic Raab, demanding support for their efforts to cut carbon emissions from new homes through the planning system.

Timed to coincide with the consultation closing for the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the letter proposes new wording of the NPPF as well as a new Ministerial Statement to provide confidence and clarity.

A changing national policy context for housing in recent years has led to confusion and uncertainty about what can and cannot be done at the local level to raise the sustainability of new build homes – particularly on energy and carbon.

The proposed measures would make clear that local authorities have the freedom to set higher sustainability standards in new homes.

The letter has been coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and is co-signed by Core Cities UK and UK100. These groups represent a group of leading cities and local authorities, together with major property and construction businesses.

John Alker, director of Policy and Places at UKGBC, said: “We need to deliver 300,000 new homes a year to tackle the country’s housing crisis, but cannot compromise quality in the race for quantity. High quality should include low and zero carbon design, that can deliver low energy bills and good air quality for householders.

“At a time of devolution and city leadership on climate change and sustainability, it seems perverse to artificially stifle the ambition of local authorities, who are working together to move forward collectively and consistently.”

Councillor Judith Blake OBE, chair of Core Cities UK, co-chair of UK100 and Leader of Leeds City Council said: “We strongly believe in the ability of cities to take a leadership position on climate change, and in doing so support central government’s commitments to the Paris Agreement. However, this requires clarity from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
that driving higher standards of energy performance from new housing through the planning system is not only allowed, but to be encouraged.”