Government introduces environmental code for new homes

Housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper today reveals the government will introduce environmental safeguards for new homes as part of its response to the Barker review.

The government has pledged to improve environmental protection alongside building new homes. It is therefore publishing a new code for sustainable homes that builds on the approach of the EcoHomes standard and will set star ratings for home buyers on the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of new homes.

The first star rating aims to be more comprehensive and demanding than current building regulations, and the highest star rating will require cutting edge technology to achieve carbon neutral development. This also builds on measures already taken to increase the energy efficiency of new homes by 40%.

New publicly funded homes will be expected to reach level three on the star ratings system, significantly higher than current building regulation standards. Local authorities will also be encouraged to promote the use of the code on public sector land and strategic sites. The government intends all other housing procured by the public sector be built to code standards. It also aims for a rapid take up of the code by the private sector, and will monitor take up on an annual basis.

Cooper says: “This shows we can improve environmental protection and build homes at the same time. By making more efficient use of water and materials and improving the environmental protections in the planning system we will ensure that the homes we need are built in a more sustainable way.”