The European commission has sanctioned a 16% cut in carbon dioxide emissions from UK buildings by 2020.

As part of a package of measures designed to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% across the EU, emissions from all UK buildings must drop to 16% below 2005 levels. The Europe-wide agreed cut is 10%.

As part of the same deal, the UK is committed to a renewable energy generation target of 15% by 2020.

However, some critics have suggested the figures are unrealistic. William Norris QC, a barrister specialising in environmental and energy planning, said: “Unless there is also a revolution in planning policy to support the the energy policy so as to create the positive framework needed for such development, then the hopes of meeting the targets are nothing but pie in the sky.”