A special report in the Sunday Telegraph revealed that the government was likely to make huge profits from the sale of Ministry of Defence land for the UK's first Eco Towns but also that the homes to be built would only need to reach level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH).
The Renewable energy Centre today expressed its concern that the government was appearing to renege on its own environmental policies which would further reduce the likely hood of private housebuilders adopting greener building practices. Level 3 of the CSH means that the house would need to improve energy efficiency by 25% whereas Level 6 would be a zero carbon home. Ministers still maintained that the Eco Towns would be zero carbon and the shortfall from the houses would be recouped through other energy saving measures.
However The Renewable Energy Centre said that the government had put in place legislation that all new homes built after 2016 had to reach level 6 of the Code. With half the Eco Towns scheduled for construction in the latter half of the decade this would mean that to only build to level 3 would make a complete farce of the policy.
Richard Simmons, Managing Director at The Renewable Energy Centre said "It beggars belief that the government are already sidling out of their own policies to create greener homes. The very fact these Eco Towns are supposed to be zero carbon when the homes in them will only be 25% energy efficient is ludicrous. It is a classic case of the government seeking to trade off on carbon emissions by robbing Peter to pay Paul. The government are either behind their own legislation or not, there are no half measures, it is up to the government to set the example with no exceptions."
The Renewable Energy Centre said that if the public were going to adopt greener living standards as a way of life, the government would need to instigate firmer policies and not waiver on those already in place. It said that when the time for planning approval arrives, had the Eco Town homes met Level 6 of the Code, the government would have had an iron clad planning argument but houses only meeting Level 3 will serve to provide "nimby" (not in my back yard) and environmental supporters with protest placards simply stating the words "hypocrite!"
The Renewable Energy Centre stated that reducing carbon emissions was already going to be a very tough goal to achieve in the timeframes set by the European Union and that if the UK had any hope of becoming a sustainable country every step forward must not incorporate two steps backwards.
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