UK Green Building Council's report card calls for Government to try harder at start of a new term
UK-GBC issues report on the Government's green progress for World Green Building Week.
With exam grade-inflation hitting the headlines over the Summer, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has turned the spotlight on the Government’s much-vaunted ‘greenest ever’ aspirations, to pose the question: if the Government was being examined on its plans to green our built environment, what would the results be? With some school students getting disappointing results in the past month, would the Government’s stated ambition to lead our transition to a greener economy face a similar fate?
To mark World Green Building Week (17 – 21 September), the UK-GBC has released a ‘Report Card’ rating the Government on key policies aimed at greening our built environment. This includes the Green Deal, zero carbon new buildings and the planning system.
Some of the highlights from the report card include:
- Green Deal – B minus. A generous grade to reflect the landmark legislation and huge promise of the scheme. However, urgent improvement needed in order to fulfil potential.
- Zero carbon new homes – E minus. A poor mark that reflects the scaling back of ambition on this policy since the Coalition came to office and the final definition of zero carbon still up in the air. Significant challenges in this area for new Housing Minister Mark Prisk.
- The planning system – C minus. Started well, recent cause for concern - must stop picking fights! Just when everyone thought a broad consensus had been reached on the NPPF, Government has ushered in a new wave of uncertainty by apparently wanting to look again at the planning system, including poorly thought-through plans on home extensions.
- Cutting energy use in existing commercial buildings - C. Some good work, but overall disappointing. Policies that impact the commercial property sector are complex, overlapping and aren’t driving the necessary change. A u-turn on rolling out Display Energy Certificates to all commercial properties was particularly disappointing.
Paul King, CEO of the UK Green Building Council commented:
“Grant Shapps recently repeated the claim that this would be the greenest government ever, citing the zero carbon homes policy as evidence. Judging by our Report Card, the Government has slipped behind with its homework. In so many policy areas, good ideas or grand ambitions are being undermined by half-baked policies or contradictory messages, revealing the tensions that exist in government between those who realize the opportunity that green growth presents, and those who are still living in the dark ages. With a ‘back to school’ feel about the Government, and new ministers in many departments, there is clearly plenty of room for improvement all round.”
The report is available for download here.