Future Homes Standard Consultation: Have your say by 7 February 2020

The government is carrying out a consultation on new draft building regulations, called the Future Homes Standard. The current draft is causing some concern. First, it is not ambitious enough, and may prevent local councils from achieving their zero carbon targets by 2030. Second, it could actually result in homes being built to a poorer standard compared to present regulations.

How to respond

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) has done a great job of explaining the issues here, even identifying how you can respond to the consultation questions. The first link here is to a quick PDF primer (115KB), while the second here is to the consulation questions and draft answers (94KB). Although the consultation is rather long, and gets technical quickly, it would in fact be sufficient to provide answers to just four of the first five questions (if you want to respond to more, go for it!).

Having read LETI’s guidance, please do use your own wording to respond, so that your responses are counted separately and not simply marked as duplicates and discounted. Please also consider emailing your MP and calling on them to take part. You can take part in the consultation simply by emailing: FutureHomesStandardConsultation@communities.gov.uk

The Issues

The first five question of the consultation concern targets, timescales, fabric performance and local councils. As LETI notes:

  • The Future Homes Standard 2020 does not promote a well- insulated building fabric, in fact under the new regulations new homes could be less insulated in 2020 than under Building Regulations 2013.
  • The more we can insulate our homes the less energy they will use for heating. We should not be designing and building homes that will need retrofitting with additional insulation in the future. A well-insulated building represents our greatest chance of meeting our climate commitments in new homes.

London Borough of Ealing has declared a climate emergency and is committed to reaching zero carbon by 2030. The current Future Homes Standard does not acknowledge that 100% of buildings designed and built by 2025 must be Net Zero if we hope to achieve those goals.

Further, the science is clear that 2050 is far too late a target, and that setting regulations with that end goal is reckless. We must be building to meet Net Zero, beginning immediately.

Taking away the ability of local authorities to set building regulation standards above the UK standard would set housing back a full decade. Local authorities know their housing stock and can plan local efficiency strategies which make the most sense for those properties.

Just taking 10 to 15 minutes to respond to the consultation could make a huge difference. The consultation closes on 7 February 2020.

Apocalypse CoW: the ConVERSATION

Thank you to all those attending our January 2020 event and for the lively discussion afterwards. There were lots of great ideas about how we can reduce our impact on the planet by making positive choices about the food we eat.

The recently published Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Land Use report calls for at least one-fifth of agricultural land to be released by 2050 for actions that reduce emissions and sequester carbon, and notes that this will require rapid changes in farming practices and consumer behaviour. The report recommends eating at least 20% less of the carbon intensive foodstuffs like beef, lamb and dairy (modest reductions compared with government nutritional guidelines), while being aware of food waste and the carbon footprint of products in our stores.

The theme of Veganuary cropped up, and it was noted that some would like support to help shift to a more plant based diet at least for some meals during the week. Some schools and households had already adopted meat free Mondays, and some have food gardens in place.

On the subject of sustainable food, an app called Giki aims to help consumers better understand food’s environmental impact; information about Ealing’s food waste collection service can be found here.

Ealing Transition has more ideas about local and sustainable food on its Locally Grown Food page here, if you would like to find out more.

26th January 2020 event: Apocalypse cow

On 26th January 2020, 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church, we will be showing a screening of George Monbiot’s provocative short film “Apocalypse Cow: How Meat Killed The Planet” – first shown on Channel 4 on January 8th. The programme highlights how current methods of meat production are unsustainable in view of a growing global population, and imagines a future in which meat and even flour are grown artificially. Apparently, such a future might be closer than we think! Not surprisingly, the programme has sparked controversy and a lively debate about the role of farming in our future. Come along and join in the discussion!

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