Housing minister to use Thames Gateway profit to make existing housing more efficient

The government is exploring how to use profits from the 160,000 homes to be built in the Thames Gateway to curb carbon emissions from the area’s existing housing.

Speaking at a fringe event at this year’s Labour party conference, housing minister Yvette Cooper said: “We’re looking to reduce carbon emissions from the whole community – not just the new development.” She said that the communities department wanted the proceeds from the development to contribute towards works such as improving energy efficiency and insulation. “The Thames Gateway is the most obvious place to look at this,” she added.

She later told Building that the Thames Gateway was a good area to trial this approach because of the scale of housebuilding planned for the area. The government aims to build 160,000 homes there by 2016.

“We have commissioned a major study that looks at carbon emissions from existing homes,” she said.

“We can use the economies of scale from new development to drive improvements in stock. With the new-build programme, we can develop standards and techniques to improve existing homes.”

Housebuilder Bellway has already looked into using section 106 contributions to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, instead of using the money to install renewable energy equipment on its new development.

Building’s 99% campaign highlighted the carbon savings that can be achieved by improving the efficiency of existing homes.

Older houses are not subject to the same environmental standards as new developments.

For more on energy efficiency go to www.building.co.uk/sustainability