Green groups have slammed the government’s draft planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change, claiming it is a backward step.

The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) is backing a private member’s bill, due in the current parliamentary session, that will allow local councils to set targets for energy efficiency in new developments.

Currently, the PPS states that councils are restricted from setting energy efficiency standards higher than the Building Regulations.

Andrew Warren, director of ACE, said this would mean that the regulations, which are supposed to be a minimum standard, would become a maximum target. He said: “This will be a serious backward step if allowed.”

Others claim the government is bowing to demands of the house building industry, which has complained in the past about having to bow to a different standards for each council.

A spokesperson for the Home Builders Federation said varying targets were not conducive to producing more homes. He said: “A number of different standards simply fragments the market and it is made more complicated than it needs to be.”