Cross party group to promote
Founding members of the recently formed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sustainable Housing have outlined their intentions for the year. The new group will provide a platform in Parliament for MPs to discuss, debate and make policy proposals on the government's ambitious green building plans, arguably the most far reaching housing policy for generations.
The group's remit will include improving the environmental performance of existing housing stock and implementing the policy for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016.
The APPG is led by two former Housing Ministers; Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP and Rt Hon David Curry MP. Former Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson Lembit Opik is Treasurer to the new group with NHBC providing secretariat support.
Some of the ideas raised for consideration included:
• Commissioning the publication of a 'beginner's guide' to zero carbon
• Holding an expert seminar meeting, which would be open to all Parliamentarians, to focus on sustainable housing within the present market
• Plans to commission new research on creating market and social conditions which will help ensure consumers respond positively to the sustainability agenda
• Conducting study tours for members to see the best examples of sustainable housing sites in the UK and EU.
The group will take a party of MPs to BRE’s Innovation Park near Watford to look at properties that meet the higher levels of the code, and to Hammarby Sjöstad, an eco-suburb of Stockholm. It will also conduct a survey asking people if they know what energy ratings their home would achieve.
Commenting on the launch of the group, former Labour Housing Minister, Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP said: "The Government's ambition that all new homes must be zero carbon by 2016 is one of the most challenging policies that the housing industry has ever faced. I am delighted to be co-chairing this group to increase awareness among Parliamentarians of some of the challenges that lie ahead on our road to truly sustainable housing.
Former Conservative Housing Minister, Rt Hon David Curry MP said:
"I am pleased to be co-chairing this group, particularly at this difficult time. It is crucial that in this time of market turbulence we do not lose sight of medium term sustainability goals."
Former Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson, Lembit Opik said:
"This group will draw attention, within Parliament and outside, to the green housing agenda. Working with the industry and ministers we intend to make a measurable difference to the quality and depth of debate on carbon reduction in the housing sector."
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