Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has called on government to allow the city-region to set its own guidelines on energy efficiency for new homes, and not have ambitions restricted by national regulations.
The appeal comes following the proposals laid out by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in the Future Homes Standard consultation. While the proposals would require new homes to incorporate low carbon heating and increase energy efficiency standards by 80%, local authorities would not be able to set higher standards and restrict their ability to cut carbon emissions at faster rates.
The GMCA has developed a 5-Year Environment Plan with input from representatives across the city-region, setting out a vision to decarbonise the economy and tackle the effects of the climate emergency, with a target of carbon neutrality by 2038
Should the proposals be approved, the Future Homes Standard would be introduced this year by MHCLG.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, GMCA Lead for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure, said:
Here in Greater Manchester we recognise how important it is to take an integrated approach to infrastructure and the sustainable growth of our city-region – one that includes energy, carbon neutrality, and clean transport links.
“These proposals actually jeopardise our position, where we’ve committed to a target of net zero carbon buildings by 2028, and carbon neutrality by 2038 – twelve years sooner than the national target. We can’t future-proof our places by building new homes today that we already know will need to be retro-fitted tomorrow to meet our targets, especially as our analysis already tells us that we need to retro-fit 61,000 homes per year in Greater Manchester if we’re to meet our 2038 carbon neutrality aspirations.”
“We are committed to building new, well designed and beautiful homes on brownfield land and welcome the desire to establish a level playing field for all developments. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of us being serious about the climate emergency, the humanitarian crisis we are facing, and the need for urgent action.
“Neither should there be a postcode lottery where some residents have access to better homes than others. Net zero carbon, better and more beautiful homes should be the norm – not the exception. To do this requires genuine and sincere levelling up for cities, towns and city regions and long term investment in people, places and communities.
“The Government should be supporting local innovation – not putting a cap on climate ambition at a time when our communities and young people are championing the need to tackle the climate emergency, with around 250 councils declaring a climate emergency and more than 100 councils adopting the goal of net zero by 2030 or earlier.”