When the decade began, sustainability and zero carbon were mostly of interest to eco-enthusiasts

Bill Dunster’s BedZed scheme in Sutton, south London, attracted comment, but few emulators. During the years that followed, the technologies behind BedZed – super-insulation, airtightness, thermal mass, biomass fired CHP systems, rainwater harvesting and solar panels became more commonplace. A step change towards their acceptance came in 2002, when Part L began to be ramped up. By 2006, of political and industry opinion was firmly behind the need to cut carbon emissions from buildings, leading to the launch of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Even the previously sceptical Tories joined the bandwagon: new leader David Cameron installed a wind turbine and solar panels at his Kensington home.

It was also in 2006 that it was finally accepted that a new generation of nuclear power stations would be a key part of the solution to the UK’s energy needs. Tony Blair used his last leader’s speech at a Labour party conference to warn that Britain faced an “energy crisis” unless a new wave of nuclear power stations was built.