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Shapps to produce zero-carbon rule

Housing minister Grant Shapps is meeting with Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne this week to hammer out a definition of zero-carbon for new build homes.

Mr Shapps has already committed to the previous government’s targets for all new build homes to be zero-carbon by 2016 and all non-domestic buildings by 2019.

He also previously stressed that “within weeks of being elected” he would offer the industry a definition of what zero-carbon would actually mean.

He told H&V News that the definition would be finalised before the summer recess for Parliament on 29 July.
Speaking to an audience at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Mr Shapps said: “I am meeting with Chris Huhne on this. I am very keen to nail a zero-carbon definition.

“Our big plan is the Green Deal. The 26 million homes in the UK emit 27 per cent of the country’s carbon dioxide.
“We will give everyone access to £6,500, which they can make use of immediately.

“Marks & Spencer, B&Q and Tesco, among other major retailers, all have big plans on getting involved in this.”

Mr Shapps defended the coalition government’s housing policy amid claims of more schemes being put on hold.
In his first speech since taking the role, Mr Shapps said the emergency Budget on 22 June would reveal details of “powerful incentives instead of meaningless targets”.

He said the Government would match local authorities’ council tax receipts for every home built for a period of six years.

He said that he expected homes built from April 2011 onwards to benefit from this policy, and that local
authorities would be setting their budgets for next April “pretty soon”.

“They will have to realise that the planning permission they give from today onwards will quickly
have an impact on their budgets.”

His comments came as fears escalated for the fragile housebuilding recovery in the face of funding cuts to the Homes and Communities Agency and plans to scrap regional targets.

South Oxfordshire Council was the first to abandon work on its core strategy, which included plans for the construction of 5,000 new homes.

But the Home Builders Federation said other authorities had since followed suit in putting schemes on hold.
Mr Shapps acknowledged that anxiety had been created by the letter sent out to local authority planning chiefs by communities secretary Eric Pickles to say regional housing targets were to be abolished.

He said: “I understand the concerns and do not want to underplay them. But give us a couple of weeks’ breathing space.

“We will hear more in the Budget on 22 June. I know that the anxiety is out there but I absolutely want to reassure you that we will be building more homes.”