Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Zero Carbon Hub proposes way for builders to pay in lieu of cutting emissions

Carbon payments could raise £1.1 bn

Local authorities could set up multi-million pound funds to pay for carbon reduction measures using contributions from developing associations and house builders, under proposals unveiled this week.

The Zero Carbon Hub, a group of house builders and government representatives which co-ordinates the delivery of zero carbon homes, outlined the idea in a report published on Tuesday.

The funds would be paid by developers to offset any carbon emissions they could not eliminate through the building process when building zero carbon homes. All new homes must be zero carbon by 2016.

The report, based on research by Cooperative Financial Services and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, estimated that £200 million of developer contributions could be borrowed against to raise a total of £1.1 billion.

Under the proposals, this would work by setting a price for carbon emissions. Developers would then make a payment either to a local authority-run community energy fund or pay a third party provider to arrange a project called an allowable solution from a list made by the council.

Allowable solutions include investment in energy from waste plants, charging facilities for electric vehicles and low-carbon street lighting.

House builders must meet minimum standards to reduce carbon emissions from their developments and then use allowable solutions, provided either in the development or offsite, to meet the rest of the zero carbon requirements.

Matthew Bush, sustainability manager at Metropolitan Housing Partnership, described the proposals as ‘a pragmatic solution to building zero carbon homes’. However, he expressed concerns that the practice could lead to confusion and ‘double counting of emission cuts’.

A verification scheme, run by an independent board, will check the projects are delivered, give credits ahead of completion and approve the release of funds.

The cash would pay for projects generating 2,940 GWh of power a year, 37 per cent of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s target for energy generation from small renewables.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said he would read the report with ‘great interest’.

Gary Porter, chair of the housing and environment board at the Local Government Association, said: ‘It puts local communities first, which would ensure that development delivered through allowable solutions would not only provide environmental benefits but would also fit with the strategic planning aims of the local area.’


Readers' comments (1)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • Zero Carbon Hub to close

    30 March 2016

    The body set up to implement the now abandoned Zero Carbon Homes target will cease operations tomorrow.

  • Offsite payments increase 72%

    9 February 2016

    The value of payments made to councils by developers in lieu of onsite affordable housing has jumped 72% in a year, according to official figures.

  • Scottish emergency housing payments surge

    25 August 2015

    The number of emergency housing payment awards handed out by Scottish councils has increased by more than a third in a year.

  • Landlord payments for one in three claimants

    24 July 2015

    Around one in three universal credit claimants living in housing association properties are having their benefit for housing costs paid directly to their landlord, results from a secret survey have shown.

  • 'Death knell' for zero carbon

    13 July 2015

    Housing and environmental bodies have lashed out at ‘arbitrary and regressive’ government plans to scrap long-anticipated carbon reduction policies for new build homes.

IH Subscription