I read your magazine each week with despair and resignation at the state of the industry, but I believe that the latest band wagon – zero-carbon houses – should be exposed as a fraud.

The government is reaping the benefits at a cost to everyone else in tax. Building Regulations have tied themselves in knots over heat conservation, air-tightness and ventilation, but nothing is mentioned about solar heating and rainwater collection.

If every new house had these as standard, we could dramatically reduce carbon footprints and solve the long-term water shortage problem. Why doesn’t the government do it? Think of the loss of tax revenue.

The government encourages solar heating by offering a £400 grant to homeowners, but then charges 5% VAT on it. If it was serious, it would remove VAT on insulation, carbon reduction products and associated labour.

Peter Sides