Body ’disappointed’ standards are watered down despite industry backing for zero carbon homes

The RICS has attacked the Budget’s green record saying it is “disappointed” by the watering down of zero carbon homes standards.

In the Treasury’s Plan for Growth, published alongside the Budget yesterday, the government announced that energy used by appliances in homes will not have to be generated from renewable sources, and the zero carbon definition will only cover heating, lighting and water when it comes into force in 2016. 

“It is disappointing that the government seems to have watered down the zero carbon homes proposals when there was strong support across a range of stakeholders for the previous proposals,” the RICS said.

The institution also called for more powers to be given to the Green Investment Bank to be able to raise money, which it will not now be able to do until 2015.

“It is essential that the Green Investment Bank has backing from across government and a full range of powers to effectively support sustainable development,” it said.

“Despite this additional funding [£2bn announced yesterday] the ability to borrow money based on deposits will be central to the operation of the bank and RICS is disappointed that it will not have these powers until 2015.”

Yet the body said it generally welcomed the Budget’s emphasis on growth following last year’s spending cuts.

“RICS is pleased that the Chancellor has chosen to focus on the promotion of enduring growth and jobs for the future in the 2011 Budget following the measures set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review at the end of 2010.

“The focus on property and construction issues is particularly welcome and echoes RICS calls in its submission to the Treasury in January this year,” it stated.