Housing minister Grant Shapps has been forced to row back from a pre-election promise to get the definition of zero carbon finalised “within weeks” of getting into office

The communities department this week said it wanted to review the level of on-site renewables required before publishing the definition of the standard, which all new homes will have to reach by 2016.

The Zero Carbon Hub, the body set up to lead the housing industry to zero-carbon construction, said this week the body’s timetable for publishing a final definition remained unchanged since before the election.

Previous work suggested all homes would have to generate enough power to mitigate 25-30% of their carbon emissions. Shapps told Building in February he would publish a definition “within the first few weeks” of a Tory administration.

The news came as Shapps announced that the government is to set up a community energy fund which will be used to pay for district heating and renewable energy schemes. Developers will pay into the fund instead of having to pay for expensive onsite renewables.