Move is outcome of behind-the-scenes struggle

A stand-off between housebuilders and environmentalists over the move to zero-carbon homes has been resolved with the appointment of an interim executive team to head a new delivery body.

The “zero-carbon hub”, which was due to be launched by the prime minister Gordon Brown yesterday, will be led by Neil Jefferson, general manager of external relations at industry body the National Housing Building Council (NHBC). It will be chaired by Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

The hub will be an independent company, rather than part of the UKGBC as originally intended.

The UKGBC suggested the formation of a body to oversee the move to zero carbon after the publication of the Callcutt report last November.

The hub will be independent, rather than part of the UKGBC as originally intended

However, according to sources close to the hub, the NHBC and the Construction Products Association (CPA) argued for an independent body. One source said: “The UKGBC’s original plan was derailed by the NHBC and CPA.”

The NHBC is supportive of the move to zero-carbon homes but has previously given voice to industry scepticism. A CPA spokesperson said: “We always wanted an independent single-interest group that everyone could get behind.”

King denied that the decision to bring a senior NHBC figure on board had been taken because of backroom wrangles.

  • British offshore wind power could be increased 30-fold in the next 12 years under proposals from the government. The renewable energy strategy will propose 3,000 onshore and 7,000 offshore wind turbines.