PRESS RELEASE: UKGBC shines light on local leadership on zero carbon homes

The UK Green Building Council has published two resources designed to support local authorities in tackling the climate emergency, by driving up the sustainability of new homes

Published on

January 13, 2021





The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has today (Wednesday 13th January 2021) published two resources designed to support local authorities in tackling the climate emergency, by driving up the sustainability of new homes. The New Homes Policy Playbook and an interactive policy map provide detailed guidance and examples of best practice policy.

Local authorities up and down the country are increasingly recognising the role they must play in addressing the climate crisis. Nearly three-quarters of UK councils and combined authorities have now declared climate emergencies and committed to delivering net zero carbon by 2050.

Since the national zero carbon homes policy was scrapped in 2015, many local authorities have been taking the initiative through local planning requirements. UKGBC’s interactive policy map, which launched in November 2020 to showcase leading retrofit policies, has now been updated with a new layer of information which highlights the most ambitious local new homes policies.

The New Homes Policy Playbook, which UKGBC has regularly updated since 2018, has been given a major overhaul, and includes an expanded section on how to approach delivering net zero carbon, as well as sections on mitigating overheating risk, the cross-cutting issue of assuring performance and the role of acoustics. It is intended to be a practical resource, designed to be used and adapted to support officers with responsibility for areas such as sustainability, planning, regeneration and housing.

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said:

“It’s simply impossible to meet our carbon targets unless we get to grips with emissions from the new homes that we undoubtedly need. National policy on zero carbon homes has been chopped and changed and we still await clarity on what was supposed to be last year’s update to Building Regulations. However, many local and combined authorities, recognising the urgency, have forged ahead by using planning as a lever to drive up the carbon performance of new homes.

“It is really encouraging to see leadership being shown by local government, but a huge amount of confusion remains and there is a danger that we will end up with a patchwork of different policies in different areas. UKGBC’s overhauled Policy Playbook can equip those local authorities wishing to go further, with the resources and inspiration to introduce ambitious but deliverable policy and support a consistent approach that will be welcomed by industry.”



Notes to editors

First published in March 2018, the latest version of the New Homes Playbook can be downloaded here. The Playbook is a live document and UKGBC is actively seeking ongoing feedback and engagement.

UKGBC’s interactive policy map was first launched in November 2020 with examples of leading policies and initiatives from local and combined authorities across the UK on residential retrofit. Launched today (Wednesday 13th January) is an additional layer of information which displays the best local policies on driving up sustainability standards in new homes.The interactive map can be accessed here.

The interactive policy map is a live resource and will be updated regularly; details of how to submit a new entry can be found on the UKGBC website at:

The New Homes Policy Playbook follows the publication of a ‘Retrofit Playbook’ – a detailed resource pack designed to further support local and combined authorities in developing retrofit policies and initiatives. The Retrofit Playbook can be downloaded here.