Mayor of London urges the government to require London housebuilders to keep the energy projects that they will have to undertake to meet carbon standards from 2016 in the capital
Boris Johnson has urged the government to require London housebuilders to keep the energy projects that they will have to undertake to meet carbon standards from 2016 in the capital, rather than building them cheaper elsewhere.
The government is committed to making all new homes zero carbon from 2016. As part of the plans housebuilders will be able to meet some of their carbon obligations though offsite renewable energy or retrofit projects, a system called “allowable solutions”.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has proposed that developers could locate allowable solutions projects anywhere in the UK to try and ease cost burden of the policy on developers.
But in a response to the consultation, submitted last October but only recently published, the Mayor of London’s office said this system would result in London “subsidising the rest of the UK” because it would be “out-competed on price”.
The response added: “London is less likely to benefit from them [allowable solution] than other parts of the country, because London’s building stock and the complex logistics of working in London make it more expensive to install both retrofit and energy supply measures.”
The mayor’s office argued that London was already losing out under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme, which funds retrofit projects, for the same reasons.
It also said any cap on the cost of carbon for allowable solutions should be a percentage of the development’s sale value rather than a fixed figure to avoid discouraging London projects.
This is the second time the mayor has clashed with DCLG over green policies in recent months after he opposed proposals in the Housing Standards Review to strip him of powers to demand high energy efficiency standards for projects in London.
In his response to the allowable solutions consultation the mayor’s office said said: “In combination with proposals under the Housing Standards Review, there is significant risk that the well-established plans in London to support the deployment of decentralised energy and heat networks through the planning system will be undermined.”
Syed Ahmed, director of the campaigning organisation Energy for London, backed Johnson’s comments and said the plans and other policies would “significantly dent the Mayor’s ambitions for reducing carbon emissions from London’s existing building stock”.
But John Slaughter, director of external affairs, at the Home Builders Federation, said requiring allowable solutions to be local “removed competitive pressure” and would mean the system would have less “bang for its buck”.