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Tories under fire for exempting 100,000 new homes from energy standards

David Cameron's decision to exempt new 'starter homes' from energy efficiency rules has drawn criticism. Photo by Number 10 via Flickr

Building controllers and green advocates are unimpressed by David Cameron’s proposal to exempt 100,000 new homes from energy standards.

The prime minister has announced plans to build ‘starter homes’ and make them available to young first-time buyers at discounted prices, if the Conservatives form the next government.

The homes would be exempt from zero-carbon regulations designed to make them more efficient and cheaper to run.

The UK Green Building Council bemoaned the decision as a move away from the ambition to make new homes zero carbon. CEO Paul King said: ‘This is incredibly short-term and counter-productive thinking. A new zero-carbon home is likely to save householders over £1,000 year-on-year on their energy bills compared to a Victorian equivalent, and yet costs builders as little as £3,000 extra to build.’

Paul Everall, chief executive of the LABC, which represents local authority building control departments, said: ‘We regret this u-turn in government policy. High standards of energy efficiency can be delivered without adding significantly to the costs of new homes… The benefits of the zero carbon standard are obvious. Buyers receive considerable benefits in increased comfort and lower bills. So when they come to sell their property and move on, who will want to buy such sub-standard homes?’

The government’s flagship energy efficiency programme for homes, the Green Deal, has so far left out lighting, because of fears that residents might take lamps and light fittings with them if they move house.