The Labour Party have announced that it would introduce new standards to make all new-build homes "zero carbon" by 2022.
In order to meet the UK net zero target it is critically important to tackle emissions from domestic property. It is estimated that around 33% of all emissions of greenhouse gases in the UK arise from domestic properties.
There are, however, two key points to note in relation to this announcement.
First, we have been here before. The Labour Party introduced policy in 2006 to ensure that all new homes were zero carbon by 2016. However, this policy was scrapped by the Conservative Party shortly before that date. The Conservative Party is again saying that the current Labour proposal is unrealistic due to cost concerns. What is really needed is a realistic timetable which everyone can work to which is not altered by tribal politics.
Secondly, the real issue is the emissions from the existing housing stock. The vast majority of existing houses will still be here in 2050 and the retrofitting of these properties will be key to meeting the net zero target. A huge amount of time and cost was put in to the Green Deal to tackle this issue but, ultimately, ended in failure. Which party is now going to put forward a credible policy on retrofit?
Labour is promising to make all new-build homes "zero carbon" within three years, in an effort to curb housing shortages and tackle climate change. A Labour government would introduce "tough" standards for new builds which would see homes fitted with solar panels and not having gas boilers. The party says it would save £200 a year per house in energy bills. The Conservative Party described the plan as "unrealistic" and said it would slow house building.