The Government is dropping its zero carbon buildings policy.
As part of a range of planning measures in its new Productivity Plan, the Government has announced its intention not to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy standards.
This means that both the 2016 zero carbon homes target and the 2019 target for non-domestic zero carbon buildings will be dropped. There will be no changes in Part L in England – for new or existing buildings – in 2016.
The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has described this announcement as the death knell for zero carbon homes and buildings.
"It is short-sighted, unnecessary, retrograde and damaging to the house building industry which has invested heavily in delivering energy efficient homes," said CEO Julie Hirigoyen, in a statement from UK-GBC. "Britain needs more housing but there is no justification for building homes with a permanent legacy of high energy bills."
Despite this setback for zero carbon buildings, the UK will still need to fulfil the requirements of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, under which Member States need to deliver zero energy buildings from 2021 and 2019 in the public sector.
"For almost a decade, industry has been working towards developing solutions for zero carbon homes in 2016," commented Phil Brown, Technical Advisory Service Manager for Pilkington United Kingdom Limited. "This was the one milestone which we thought was immovable. Specifically in terms of the regulatory requirements for replacement windows, yet another milestone will pass with no changes. It's now going to be at least 2019 before we see any ambition."