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published: 20/11/2013
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BRE's response to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report on the Government's Code for Sustainable Homes and Housing Standards Review

Today’s report from the EAC reflects evidence taken from a wide range of stakeholders from across the housing sector and considers whether the Government’s proposals align with their stated commitment to sustainable development

The committee’s key conclusion is that the Government’s proposals put at risk recent significant advances in sustainable house building and this could not only set back objectives for carbon reduction but also for green growth, green innovation and green exports. These are concerns that are shared by BRE and many other organisations involved in the delivery of housing.

Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability, BRE who gave evidence to the EAC said ‘The introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes  in 2007  set a  huge challenge for house builders and the supply chain but one which they responded to in a truly impressive way. The 200,000 houses either built or being constructed to the Code have benefited from reduced carbon emissions, lower fuel bills, increased security, and improved health and wellbeing for those that live in them compared with what regulations required.  The Code has not only driven down the cost of sustainable housing but has also delivered innovation in the supply chain resulting in global export opportunities. In addition it has created a number of significant economic, environmental and social benefits for the country that none of us want to lose.’

‘We agree that the regulatory landscape needs to be simplified and needs to evolve into a system that works for all stakeholders and promotes a thriving house building sector. This point is acknowledged by the Committee, who conclude that this would best be done by updating and building on the successes of the Code.’

‘The housing sector faces a host of new challenges that need to be addressed like health and wellbeing, an ageing population, the provision of adequate space, climate adaptation and resource efficiency. BRE looks forward to continuing to work with house builders, the wider industry and Government to improve and update codes and standards that work for people, the environment and the economy’.

For further information contact Linda McKeown, BRE, tel 01923 664569, email mckeownl@bre.co.uk

Notes to editor

Environmental Audit Committee

The remit of the Environmental Audit Committee is to consider the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and to audit their performance against sustainable development and environmental protection targets. See the EAC report on the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Housing Standards Review here

 Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes is the Government’s national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes.  It has been developed with industry and a wide range of stakeholders for the Department for Communities and Local Government . Some 200,000 homes have been built or are under construction to the Code since its launch in 2007. The Code covers nine categories of sustainable design:  energy and CO2 emissions, water, materials, surface water run-off, waste, pollution, health and well-being, management, and ecology.  It provides a mechanism for promoting the sustainability of new housing rather than being a conventional standard in its own right.  BRE manages the Code and acts as DCLG’s technical advisors.  Click here for more information

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