Community Infrastructure Levy will give councils 'options' to contribute funds towards renewable energy programmes in new housing development.
As 2010 drew to a close, the government cemented its commitment to the zero carbon agenda, with Grant Shapps, Housing Minister, announcing plans to develop a community energy fund as part of the effort to meet the zero offset for homes built after 2016.
More recently, Shapps outlined the Community Infrastructure Levy aimed at helping local authorities achieve reductions in carbon emissions locally. However he came under fire for scrapping the Homes and Communities Agency's Core Standards for new buildings, removing the basic energy efficiency standards laid out by the last government.
As part of this drive for eco-friendliness, Zero Carbon Hub's benchmark report recommended building homes with on-site renewable energy. Meanwhile, housing association Peabody has set up a £23 million programme to fit solar panels to its housing stock and is aiming to reduce emissions by 60% of their 1990 levels by 2025.
However, amidst these gallant efforts to improve the UK's carbon footprint, campaigners have warned that the government's cap on the amount claimed per home for green deal improvements will limit its effectiveness.
Shapps said the Community Infrastructure Levy, which was recently finalised, will give councils the option for new housing development in their area to contribute funds towards local renewable energy generation.
'We are committed to ensuring that new homes do not add to our carbon footprint. But while making sure these tough environmental standards are met, we will not dictate how every home should be built,' said Shapps.
'We're serious about building greener homes, but also committed to finding the most practical way of doing this. If we're going to be successful in reducing our carbon emissions, we need to ensure the councils and developers who are going to deliver these changes are on board.
'That's why we're also giving the people at the sharp end of delivering zero carbon further options to invest in local renewable energy schemes.'
The UK Building Council welcomed the Housing Minister's statement. Chief executive Paul King said: 'The picture of how this will be achieved is gradually becoming clearer, which is essential to give industry confidence and to drive investment.
'Confirmation of the 2019 target, for all new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon, is particularly welcome.
'Our research for government earlier this year, which we're able to publish today for the first time, shows that industry is up for this challenge, they just need policy certainty to be able to get on and deliver it.'
For Source CLICK