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Comment - Energy and Climate Change

Developers fall short of sustainability by David Flint

Members will be aware of the road works on the North Circular. They may not be aware that Notting Hill Housing Trust has applied to build lots more homes near to the improved road.

New building is important in many ways. It's an opportunity to provide better homes and to improve the streetscene - though it's also an opportunity to make things worse. All construction involves the release of greenhouse gases - 40%! - but there's an opportunity here too.

Any house or flat built today will be in use for many decades - decades in which energy prices are bound to rise and over which the UK must, by 2050, reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 80%. This clearly requires us to invest in more energy-efficient buildings and there's no easier time to make this investment than during construction. So you might think that a responsible council would require high standards and that responsible developers would propose them. A report on Sustainable Buildings Standards for Bristol City Council makes this point well.

By these standards Enfield is not a responsible council and NHHT is not a responsible developer. In a recent planning application NHHT proposes to reach only level 4 of the code for sustainable homes which requires only a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions. It seems likely that Enfield will let them get away with this.

The Council should require developers to reach at least code level 5, a 100% reduction. Nothing less is fit for the 21st century.

First published in the EGP members newsletter, March 2012

Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ