Federation boss Baseley denies claim that private sector is not working to 2016 deadline

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has hit back at claims that the private sector will miss the government’s 2016 deadline for zero-carbon homes.

Stewart Baseley, the HBF’s chief executive, said the organisation was “fully signed up” to the commitment to ensure all new homes were zero carbon by 2016.

He was responding to comments by David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF), who has called for government intervention to force housebuilders to hit the target.

Speaking at the NHF annual conference in Birmingham last Friday, Orr said 92% of new housing association stock was meeting minimum sustainable standards, compared with only 2% of new homes built by private developers.

He said the private sector would be “simply unable” to meet the 2016 deadline without immediate action from ministers.

Orr said: “Private developers are not being compelled to meet minimum standards on greenhouse gas emissions at all. In fact, they are being allowed to put their profits ahead of the survival of future generations.

“It’s time ministers legally locked private developers into the same timetable as housing associations.”

But Baseley insisted housebuilders were working hard with the government and other stakeholders, such as councils and the Housing Corporation, to tackle climate change.

He said: “The HBF is fully signed up to the 2016 commitment and will drastically reduce carbon emissions from new homes in the interim.”

Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Family Mosaic Housing Group, backed Orr’s comments. He said: “People will work to the standards they are set. If a developer is allowed to build to a lower standard, it will build to a lower standard. It’s not a criticism of the builders but a criticism of the regulations.”

Chris Tinker, head of regeneration at Crest Nicholson, sought to play down the row, saying: “It’s very important that we all work together.”