Local authorities ‘need more power over green housing’

Cities in the UK should be given more power to raise the bar on green new-build housing. The UK Green Building Council’s (UK GBC) latest paper proposes government should allow […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Cities in the UK should be given more power to raise the bar on green new-build housing.

The UK Green Building Council’s (UK GBC) latest paper proposes government should allow local authorities to take leadership of delivering sustainable new homes and communities to tackle the housing and climate crises.

Its release follows the government’s scaling back of green housing ambitions in recent years, such as the scrapping of the Zero Carbon homes policy and the winding down of the Code for Sustainable Homes, a key tool used to promote clean development and construction.

It lays out a series of suggestions for cities and local authorities to improve the quality of new builds in their areas, which include requiring higher environmental standards for buildings on their land, running their own energy companies and taking lessons from existing best practices in planning and design.

Councils in Liverpool, Nottingham and Leeds have already set up their own energy suppliers.

The report also reviews what devolution deals could offer, such as the potential for cities to work with industry to create new standards and to tackle issues such as health and housing as one by combining budgets.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of the UK GBC, said: “In the current policy landscape, with ambition in sustainable housing at a national level falling short, it is vital we consider how local and city authorities can play a leadership role.

“This is the only way we will meet our stretching carbon reduction targets and deliver genuinely sustainable places.”