The UK government ‘could do better’ at its efforts to green the country’s built environment, says the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).
In a report card issued this week to mark World Green Building Week, the UK-GBC grades the government on its key policies to improve the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings and address planning issues.
The government gets one of its best marks, a B minus, for its flagship Green Deal initiative, which aims to help homeowners with the upfront costs of energy efficiency by providing low-cost loans that can be repaid through energy bill savings.
But despite the “huge promise” of the scheme, urgent improvements to the plans are needed to ensure that it realises its potential, says the UK-GBC.
The government fares less well on its policies to cut energy use in existing commercial buildings. A grade C reflects “some good work”, says the report card, but overall the results “disappointing”, particularly on the failure to rollout Display Energy Certificates to all commercial properties.
From there it’s downhill, with the government’s efforts to improve the planning system, including poorly thought through plans on home extensions, meriting only a C minus.
Even worse, though, is the government’s scaling back of the previous administration’s zero carbon new homes initiative. The Coalition’s lack of ambition and failure to pin down a definitive definition of zero carbon nets the government an E minus from the UK-GBC.
“In so many policy areas, good ideas or grand ambitions are being undermined by half-baked policies or contradictory messages,” says Paul King, CEO of the UK-GBC. “Judging by our Report Card, the Government has slipped behind with its homework… [and] there is clearly plenty of room for improvement all round.”
For further information:
Cutting environmental red tape stalling green economy, UK warned (21-May)
UK Chancellor’s 2012 Budget boosts fossil fuels (22-Mar)
Cameron failing to lead ‘greenest government ever’, says environmental group (9-May 2011)
New UK Prime Minister promises “greenest government ever” (17-May 2010)
19 September 2012