Housing minister says fund will enable developers to meet carbon reduction commitments

Housing minister Grant Shapps has announced the government is to set up a community energy fund which will be used to pay for district heating and renewable energy schemes.

Developers would pay into the fund as a way of meeting their carbon reduction obligations rather than having to pay for expensive onsite renewable or directly fund offsite energy schemes.

Under the definition of zero carbon developers are allowed to offset 30% of a new development’s carbon emissions offsite, the so called “allowable solutions”.

The move is the first step towards setting up a mechanism to deliver the developer funded contributions.

The industry is still waiting for the government to clarify how they will meet the offsite element of the definition of zero carbon.

Shapps said the fund would be managed by local authorities. He also said the government wanted to avoid a “top down prescriptive approach” as it would give developers and councils much more “flexibility” on how they would meet zero carbon standards.

The minimum fabric energy standards set out last year by the Zero Carbon Hub has also been confirmed by Shapps.

He also confirmed the government’s commitment to a realistic benchmark for carbon emissions in Building Regulations although this had to take into account the costs of meeting this.

The Zero Carbon Hub will research the appropriate level for this benchmark.

Shapps confirmed the Hub would receive £600,000 in government funding for its work this year.