Regional Climate Change Forum urges Government to be more ambitious for future homes and energy standards  

A climate group has raised ‘significant concerns’ about the Government’s proposed plans for standards around future homes and energy efficiency. 

The East of England’s Regional Climate Change Forum (RCCF) has submitted a response to the Government’s Future Homes Standard consultation ending March 27 and its statement on ‘Planning – Local Energy Efficiency Standards Update’, published in December 2023.  

It urges the Government to be more ambitious in supporting sustainable development, give local authorities power to respond to the climate crisis, amend the way carbon reduction is measured for future homes, and ensure proposals consider the impact of electrical infrastructure. 

In the open letter, Cllr Peter Schwier, Chair of the RCCF and Climate Czar for Essex, said: “We have significant concerns that the FHS proposals, and the accompanying Written Ministerial Statement do not go far enough in setting the sustainable development standards required to meet the UK’s legally binding 2050 net zero target and, as such, will not deliver the climate resilience, mitigation and adaptation that our communities need, expect and deserve.” 

According to the RCCF, hosted by the East of England LGA, the Government’s statement on planning prevents local authorities from setting policies to deliver net zero homes. 

The letter continues: “Local authorities have an enormous role to play in supporting the country to achieve its legally binding net zero targets. This is especially true of elements regarding the built environment. However, we are not being supported by the Government to carry out this role to our full potential.” 

The Forum also suggests changing the proposed metrics for future homes from Target Emissions Rate (TER) to Energy Use Intensity (EUI). It says it is better aligned with net zero as it covers regulated and unregulated energy, and is easier to understand.  

It also raises concerns on the reliance of ‘grid carbonisation’ for achieving net zero and suggested a ‘robust’ impact assessment on energy infrastructure is completed. 

Cllr Schwier added: “We urge the Government to go further in its plans to deliver sustainable future development, learning from best practice currently being carried out by local authorities in the East of England.” 

You can read the full response here.