Campaigners slam Government proposal to block local councils setting zero-carbon building standards
Manchester Friends of the Earth has slammed a Government proposal that could block councils from setting local building standards to help tackle fuel poverty and the climate crisis.
The Government is currently consulting on the Future Homes Standard, which proposes changes to building regulations around energy conservation and ventilation from 2020. 
Manchester Friends of the Earth is outraged that the Government is seeking to prevent local authorities from going above and beyond the proposed national energy efficiency and carbon emission standards for new homes. 
This would lead to higher energy bills for new homeowners and make it harder for Greater Manchester to reach its target of becoming ‘carbon neutral by 2038’.
Ali Abbas, Manchester Friends of the Earth joint co-ordinator said:
“If the Government goes ahead with these changes to building regulations, it would block councils from setting higher energy efficiency standards for new homes.
“Not only would this undermine local democracy, it would mean higher energy bills and higher carbon emissions, making the climate emergency even worse.
“If the Government doesn’t care about new homeowners and the environment, it should at least stop interfering with councils that want to do the right thing.”
The consultation draft of the Future Homes Standard only proposes to set carbon emission reduction targets of 31% for houses built after 2030. 
According to the London Energy Transformation Initiative, a network of more than 1,000 architects and engineers, the proposed changes to building regulations in England and Wales are likely to make buildings less energy efficient not more. 
In March 2019, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham announced that the GM Spatial Framework would require all “new development to be net zero carbon by 2028.” 
Ahead of the local elections in May 2019, Manchester Friends of the Earth asked candidates in Greater Manchester if they supported “the introduction of a zero-carbon standard for all new buildings in Greater Manchester from 2021”. Candidates from all political parties supported this measure with 94% of all the candidates who responded supporting this measure. 
Manchester Friends of the Earth is asking residents to respond to the consultation, which closes on Friday 7 February, and has provided a template response on its website. 
Contact for comments:
Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth. Mobile: 07951 642858. Email: email@example.com
2) [Page 22] Q4 When, if at all, should the government commence the amendment to the Planning and Energy Act 2008 to restrict local planning authorities from setting higher energy efficiency standards for dwellings?
a.In 2020 alongside the introduction of any option to uplift to the energy efficiency standards of Part L
b.In 2020 but only in the event of the introduction of a 31% uplift (option 2) to the energy efficiency standards of Part L
c.In 2025 alongside the introduction of the Future Homes Standard
d.The government should not commence the amendment to the Planning and Energy Act
3) Proposed changes to regulations ‘will make buildings less energy efficient‘ Guardian, 24th January 2020.
5) See Question 3 – Built Environment. Do you support the introduction of a zero-carbon standard for all new buildings in Greater Manchester from 2021?. https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/election-survey-2019-parties/
7) Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. www.foe.co.uk