The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has hit out at councils that refuse to hold pre-planning talks with housebuilders.

At this week’s Chartered Institute of Housing conference, John Slaughter, the HBF’s external affairs director, said: “Pre-application discussions vary from council to council. Some won’t talk to us as they claim it’ll damage the democratic process. This isn’t correct and needs to be put to rest.”

• Speaking at the same event, Treasury adviser Kate Barker urged the industry not to commit too early to specific technologies in the dash for zero-carbon homes. She said: “It’s easy to rush towards one type of technology and think it will solve all sorts of problems but they are changing all the time.”