News: Spring/Summer 2006
Government signals downgrading of environmental standards for new housing development
Appeared on Space For Nature on December 5th 2005
The government's election promise to usher in higher environmental standards for new housing development has turned rather sour.
The code for new housing, which will be published at the same time as the Chancellor announces the biggest house-building programme in half a century, will actually lay down lower requirements for saving energy and water than government agencies enforce at present.
English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation - the two bodies that channel government funds into housing - insist that by April all new homes should save more than 25 per cent as much energy, and 40 per cent as much water, as laid down by building regulations. But the new code will not make this compulsory. It will also scrap requirements to build houses near public transport, and to assess the ecological value of land before it is developed.
WWF-UK (the World Wide Fund for Nature) who were the only environmental group on the body overseeing the plans, has resigned in protest - the first time it has ever felt forced to take such a course. Robert Napier, chief executive of WWF-UK, said: "It's madness. Instead of charting the way forward, the code is going backwards."
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