There is far too much carbon dioxide-emitting traffic on the road, and the government is trying to address the issues through initiatives such as EcoHomes. But one is tempted to think that the authors of such systems have never been outside the Home Counties. Certainly, they do not appear to be aware of the logistical problems of obtaining materials for places as far away as west Cornwall, for example.
For instance, if one specifies aerated blocks in walls, the structure has an “A” summary rating in the Green Guide to Housing Specification, and this will ensure that the EcoHomes score is enhanced. And it is admirable that the use of recycled material should be encouraged. However, in order to obtain those extra points a site in west Cornwall has to obtain the blocks from either Flax Bourton (near Bristol), Westbury (in Wiltshire) or Newbury (in Somerset) depending on the maker. This entails an eight-wheeler making a round trip of 320, 360 or 460 miles respectively, with all the CO2 emissions that this entails.
The alternative is to use a lightweight block from a local manufacturer. The CO2 emissions are reduced vastly but then one loses the points needed to get the requisite EcoHomes score. No waiver or consideration will be given (I have asked)!
While there are rules that mean that one has to get an eight-wheeler to make that long journey in order to get a few EcoHomes points, we will not be helping to reduce either traffic congestion or carbon emissions.
J Nigel Wilday, chartered surveyor, Exeter
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