The [UK] government has signalled it will give in to criticism from environmental campaigners and beef up proposals to make new homes more energy efficient.
Last December, a proposed code for sustainable homes was greeted with despair by campaigners who said it did not go nearly far enough.
The local government secretary, David Miliband, is understood to have been shocked by the level of criticism of the proposals. He hinted yesterday they would be strengthened.
The government described the code as “ambitious” when it was launched but, speaking yesterday at a house-builders’ conference, Mr Miliband acknowledged it was only “a baseline for progress”.
Environment ministers are understood to have shared concerns about the inadequacy of the original proposals. They have lobbied Mr Miliband and others in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for stronger action to help the government meet its commitment to cut CO2 emissions.
Mr Miliband said yesterday: “This is an area in which the ODPM is doing intensive work in tandem with Defra.”
The revised code is expected to require that all homes built with public funds produce 25% less carbon emission than homes built under present building regulations on energy efficiency. It is also likely to force builders to install features such as water saving taps and double-flush toilets, in order to improve water efficiency by one-third.
Clearly, the UK’s government is capable of saying “We screwed up,” and giving it another go. The revised targets looks pretty ambitious, but would provide a solid foundation for much greener building.