The 2014 Queen’s Speech has been criticised by the renewables sector as containing the “worst row-backs on green policy”, damaging a former pledge that all new homes will need to be carbon zero by 2016.
Government plans include “the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard”. However, the infrastructure bill laid bare an exemption for some smaller housing developments, with 50 houses or less, to comply with the zero carbon standards.
The Allowable Solutions scheme has come under fire for its intention to plug the gap between ‘on-site’ carbon savings and ‘zero carbon’ status, the argument being that in some cases it could prove too costly or technically challenging to meet the standard entirely through measures such as fabric insulation and renewable energy generation.
Quoted in The Guardian, Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “In reality it’s one of the worst row-backs on green policy of the whole coalition government. First emissions from TVs and kettles were excluded, then DCLG started dismantling existing new build energy efficiency policies, and now they are focusing on offsets and hefty exemptions. Our energy bills, our climate and the domestic renewable energy supply chain will all lose out as a result.”
A more positive announcement was that the government is planning to significantly strengthen its community energy strategy by giving them the right to purchase a stake in local renewable energy projects, such as wind or solar farm installations.
But the controversy continued with plans by the conservative wing of the coalition to extend fracking through the reform of trespass laws, which would give fracking firms access to residential property.
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