The National Association of Estate Agents has called on the government to stagger the introduction of home information packs (Hips) geographically, as it claims there will not be enough energy inspectors in London to implement the scheme on 1 August.

Ministers came under pressure from the organisation to exempt London from the start date after it was revealed that there were only 70 inspectors in the city, just two per borough.

The communities department insisted there would be no shortage. A spokesman said: “There are 70 accredited inspectors in London with a further 109 applications.”

However, the department has also announced that, because of the shortage of inspectors, Hips will now be introduced in three stages instead of two. This will raise concerns that the already postponed process will be drawn out even longer.

The new schedule comes as the department has announced it will need 3,000 instead of 2,000 inspectors to roll out the scheme nationwide. There are currently about 500.