Don’t scrap policy for renewables in new buildings, businesses say

More than 50 organisations including trade bodies, charities and green businesses are calling on the Government to avoid scrapping the policy driver for renewables in new buildings. The Merton Rule […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

More than 50 organisations including trade bodies, charities and green businesses are calling on the Government to avoid scrapping the policy driver for renewables in new buildings.

The Merton Rule requires new developments to generate at least 10% of their energy needs from renewable sources in a bid to cut carbon emissions in the built environment.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has proposed to “amend or remove” the Merton Rule in its Housing Standards Review consultation but many businesses insist it helps local governments lay down conditions for higher energy standards for new homes.

They believe scrapping the rule would “damage the on-site renewables industry, weaken local democracy and lead to higher energy bills in new homes”.

In an open letter to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, organisations including Lightsource Renewable Energy, WWF, Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Solar Trade Association (STA), are urging him not to stop local government delivering low carbon homes “at least until full Zero Carbon standards are applied in 2016”.

It states: “The signatories to this letter urge you to champion, not reverse, important local authority leadership on lower carbon homes… It has been an important factor in ensuring that new homes are more energy efficient than they otherwise would be and that cost-effective small scale generation is included in new developments.

“We urge you not to stop local authorities building the carbon impact and energy bill anxiety out of UK homes.”

The letter adds that analysis by the STA shows the additional costs for housing developments “can be very affordable – from just £1,000 per house to include solar PV under a 10% Merton Rule”.

A spokesperson from DCLG said it would not be able to comment as the consultation is still ongoing but would welcome any recommendations.