Heritage body set to oppose plans to bring historic buildings up to modern energy efficiency standards when refurbished

English Heritage is likely to oppose proposals to require historic buildings to be brought up to modern energy efficiency standards when refurbished.

A plan to remove the exemption for historic buildings is part of the recent consultation on Part L of the Building Regulations. However, this latest consultation proposes that, while historic buildings should be upgraded where reasonably and practically possible, “special consideration” should be given to their character. The type and extent of energy-efficiency improvements would be decided by negotiation between local authority conservation officers and building control departments.

Chris Wood, the head of building conservation and research at English Heritage, said the body was “almost certainly looking for the exemption to be retained” because a survey of conservation officers showed “unequivocal”support for it.

Wood said conservation officers were concerned some building control officers did not appreciate the nature of historic buildings and would insist on changes that damaged their fabric.

He said: “Building control understand what an exemption is whereas the notion of special considerations is a bit woolly. We are not confident this would be implemented in the way we would like.”