Small site exemption for zero carbons standard likely to apply to sites of less than 10 homes

zero carbon

A government minister has said that the exemption of “small sites” from the zero carbon homes standard in 2016 is likely to apply to sites of less than 10 homes.

The government announced plans to exempt “small sites” from the zero-carbon homes standard last month as a way of easing the pressure of regulation on smaller builders, who work mostly on small sites.

However, it did not say how small sites would need to be to qualify for the exemption, stating only that it would consult on it soon.

The Home Builders Federation said that sites of up to 50 homes would be “a good starting point for the debate” on where the exemption should kick in.

But green leaders fear that an exemption of sites this size would hobble the policy because it would lead to around a third of homes being made exempt from the zero carbon standard.

However, speaking in the House of Lords last week, Lord Ahmad, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Communities and Local Government, said the government favoured setting the threshold for a small site closer to ten units.

He said: “Regarding the site threshold, there has been much press speculation that it could be as high as 50 units.

“However, for the recent consultation on section 106 agreements, the threshold was 10 units or fewer.

“This is likely to be nearer the figure that we consult on.”

“In that respect, I cannot anticipate the government’s final position but I can say that we will be looking closely at the conclusions of the consultation on the section 106 proposals as we develop our thinking.”

Ahmed also confirmed that the government has dropped plans to remove councils’ ability to set energy efficiency standards higher than building regulations between now and the introduction of zero carbon in 2016.

He said these restrictions of councils’ powers would only be introduced alongside the zero-carbon standard.

He said: “It shows clearly that we are conscious of the need for a sensible transition arrangement.”