Zero Carbon Hub and Local Government Association battle it out

A dispute has erupted over whether local authorities should be able to opt out of new zero carbon homes standards.  

On Monday, the latest report by the Zero Carbon Hub, which has been setting out the details of the zero carbon standard all new homes will have to meet by 2016, said that local authorities should not be able to set lower carbon standards despite the government’s localism agenda.

However the Local Government Association, which was one of the bodies consulted on the plans, said this would restrict the “freedom” of local authorities.

The report recommended the level of “carbon compliance” – the amount of electricity that can be used from off-site sources - for zero-carbon homes.

“The task group recommends there should be no local power to set a different limit for carbon compliance, or to make other related stipulations,” the report said.

John Tebbit, technical director of the Construction Products Association, another of the bodies consulted, said that the standards had to apply across the country as building regulations were national minimum standards.

He said: “There’s localism, and there’s anarchy. It would be extremely dangerous to allow local authorities to set lower standards.”

“If local authorities are allowed to pick and choose on Part L what next? Building structurally safe buildings is expensive so let’s vary Part A?”