UKGBC’s general election policy recommendations
The UK is now committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This welcome first step must be matched by urgent and coordinated action across all levels and departments of the next Government. We need a proper national plan and credible, funded policies to make sure we meet the 2050 target with time to spare.
Thank you to the UK Green Building Council for supplying these recommendations:
The next Government must therefore ensure that:
1. By 2030 all new buildings are net zero carbon for regulated and unregulated energy, based on their in-use performance. A trajectory to 2030 must include an uplift to Building Regulations in 2020 that drives very high fabric standards and significantly improves enforcement and compliance. It should also set out a 2025 standard that delivers low carbon heating and ultra-high levels of energy efficiency, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. Targets for significant reductions in whole life carbon should also be introduced by 2030 at the latest.
2. A national infrastructure programme is put in place to improve all existing homes to EPC Band C and all non-domestic buildings to EPC Band B by 2035. The programme must be underpinned by adequate levels of public investment, including an extra £1bn a year to retrofit low income households. A range of incentives, regulations and financing options is also required for all housing sectors and commercial building owners. A clear trajectory must be set out for tightening Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for rented homes to EPC Band C and non-domestic buildings to EPC Band B, both by 2030. Operational energy ratings should be introduced as soon as possible for non-domestic buildings.
3. By 2030 all buildings and infrastructure are required, throughout their lifetime, to be climate resilient and maximise environmental net gains through the prioritisation of nature-based solutions. Requirements for biodiversity net gain should be mandated for all new developments as soon as possible and proposals set out for the introduction of wider environmental net gains. Alongside this, company reporting on climate-related risks and opportunities must be mandated; and the National Planning Policy Framework and associated planning guidance should be strengthened.
4. It maximises its role as a procurer of goods, works and services to drive positive social and environmental outcomes. Government should commit to only occupy net zero carbon buildings by 2030 and, no later than 2022, introduce minimum energy performance standards for central and local government buildings, based on operational ratings. Central government should also start accounting for economic, social and environmental wellbeing in all its procurement processes, including those relating to building projects. And it should show leadership by driving resource efficiency, waste prevention and other circular economy principles across the Government estate.
5. After we leave the European Union, environmental protections and climate policies are as strong as – or stronger than – they are today. This must include legally binding environmental targets; an independent environmental watchdog with teeth; and a commitment to demonstrable improvements in air and water quality, biodiversity and resource efficiency and waste reduction.