Housing Specification Blog

Delays to Part L could stifle zero-carbon targets

August 1, 2013 Alexandra Blakeman Planning & Legislation

Changes to Part L, the section of the building regulations which covers the responsibility to conserve fuel and power, were announced yesterday.

The revision, which will come into force in April 2014, means new build homes will have to be 6% more efficient  than under current regulations.

The government originally proposed to tighten carbon emissions by 8% for new build homes when plans were first set out last April.

Velux zero-carbon home in Kettering

Under new regulations, non-domestic buildings will have to be 9% more efficient, a significantly reduced percentage from the 20% increase previously planned.

Does this mean we’re going to miss the 2016 zero-carbon target?

Thanks to the piecemeal changes to Part L, Anna Scott Marshall, Riba’s head of external affairs predicted that the UK will only be a third of the way towards the zero-carbon housing target by 2016.

The knock-on effect of this shortfall threatens to exacerbate our current housing shortage and deter investment in new developments.

Housing professionals are blaming the time it has taken to enforce changes to Part L, but agree that the industry now has the clarity it requires to move forward.

Andrew Orriss, head of business at SIG 360 said: “As unpalatable as it might seem, if moving the amendments to April 2014 means we get more realistic timelines and a clearer pathway to zero carbon, then the government’s decision  to delay is the right one. Better that than rush into an October 2013 target that we won’t be able to meet.”


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