All posts from: December 2009
Labour and the Tories seem to have ditched their traditional colours, and be trying to out do each other to appear a brighter shade of green.
With the Copenhagen climate change summit looming, both housing minister John Healey and his shadow Grant Shapps have used speeches over the last couple of weeks to push their party’s eco-credentials.
But whilst they may be united in their aim to cut emissions from housing, there was a difference in emphasis to their plans.
Healey used his speech at a UK Green Building Council conference to reiterate the government’s commitment to ensure all homes built from 2016 are zero carbon. He even moved a little bit closer to defining what zero carbon actually means, by publishing a proposed standard for measuring energy efficiency.
Shapps headed up to the BRE in Watford to stress the importance of cutting emissions from existing homes. The Tory plan is to get charities and businesses to fund £6,500 of energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, and then recoup the investment through savings in fuel costs.
Tesco and Marks and Spencer have said they are interested, and other groups – including social landlords – have been in contact with the Conservatives about the plans.
Despite the enthusiasm, there is still a lack of detail on exactly how the plans will work. The UKGBC said they would need primary legislation, but a Tory source tells me they just need a provider to sign up to get started.
Equally, Labour’s plans lack finality. Although the energy efficiency statement has resolved some questions over zero carbon, there is still the thorny issue of off-site renewables to contend with.
With the government aiming to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and 27 per cent of those emissions coming from homes, it is vital that whoever wins the election quickly turns their green rhetoric into reality.