UK Prime Minister David Cameron

The UK’s most influential property and development industry leaders including Lend Lease Europe have urged the UK government to reconsider its shock decision to scrap a zero carbon homes policy that has been in place since 2006.

More than 200 companies have signed an open letter asking the government to reconsider the U-turn. Signatories include the British Property Federation, Bioregional, Cofely UK, Colliers International, the Electrical Contractors Association, Interface, Kingspan Insulation, Lend Lease Europe, Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems UK, Tata Steel and WWF UK. Other signatories include leading architects, sustainability consultants, energy consultants, residential builders, developers and sustainability organisations.

The UK government effectively scrapped its 2016 zero carbon homes policy by abolishing the allowable carbon offsets solutions scheme and a proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards. The government also scrapped a related zero carbon buildings policy that would have applied to all new non-residential buildings such as offices, schools and hospitals from 2019.

The move will be viewed with foreboding in Australia, given the Abbott government’s almost unique retrograde policies on climate and clean energy at the international scale, and begs the question whether the Cameron government is looking to the Abbott government for a perverse kind of leadership increasingly desperate to shore up the fossil fuel industry in the face of a growing divestment movement and galloping innovation in clean energy technology.

The protest letter published on Monday was coordinated by the UK Green Building Council, which expressed outrage at the retrograde step.

“The speed and the stealth with which this administration has destroyed some of the long-term policies supporting the renewable and low carbon industries has been breathtaking,” UK Green Building Council chief executive Julie Hirigoyen said.

“We have witnessed an unparalleled wave of support from our members and the wider industry who are deeply concerned about how the government’s sudden, regressive and arbitrary decision to scrap the long established zero carbon policy will impact their business and investment.

“This U-turn not only means our new buildings will be less energy efficient and more costly to run, but it comes at a time when the UK should be taking strong action on climate change ahead of the UN conference in Paris in December. We urge government to reconsider its position for the sake of future confidence in the UK’s low carbon economy.”

She said separately the move was “bizarre” and “very disappointing”, predicting it could make the UK “uninvestable”.

Housing and planning charity the Town and Country Planning Association said the move meant an end to zero carbon homes.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the TCPA said the cancellation of the policy “marks the end of any benchmark for building the high quality, sustainable homes that we so desperately need”.

“It was also a marked contrast to other nations who have created entirely new industries from building highly sustainable new places.”

The open letter to the Chancellor from 246 organisations warn that the policy U-turn has “undermined industry confidence in government” and will “curtail investment in British innovation and manufacturing”.

“There was a broad consensus in support of the zero carbon policy, which was designed to give industry the confidence it needs to invest and innovate, in order to drive higher energy efficiency standards and low carbon energy solutions,” the letter states.

“Since the policy was first launched eight years ago, business has invested heavily in preparing for future standards.”

The UKGBC and industry supporters said there was no evidence scrapping the policy would increase housing supply or boost productivity.

– with Tina Perinotto

Following is the full text of the letter published on 20 July 2015

Dear Chancellor,

For the best part of a decade, in response to a long-established Government target, the construction and property sector has been gearing up to deliver zero carbon homes and buildings. Last Friday, we were extremely disappointed to learn that this policy is being arbitrarily scrapped, despite the fact that the necessary primary legislation only acquired Royal Assent in February this year.

There was a broad consensus in support of the zero carbon policy, which was designed to give industry the confidence it needs to invest and innovate, in order to drive higher energy efficiency standards and low carbon energy solutions.

Since the policy was first launched eight years ago, business has invested heavily in preparing for future standards. This sudden U-turn has undermined industry confidence in Government and will now curtail investment in British innovation and manufacturing in low carbon products and services. There is no evidence to suggest it will increase housing supply or boost productivity.

The weakening of standards will mean our future homes, offices, schools and factories will be more costly to run, locking future residents and building users into higher energy bills. It also runs counter to advice from the Committee on Climate Change, impeding our ability to meet our statutory carbon targets cost-effectively at a time when we should be showing international leadership on this issue.

Abandoning the zero carbon policy will have regressive impacts and be harmful to British industry. We urge you to reconsider and engage with us in dialogue to find a mutually acceptable way forward.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Bushrod, Director, A & H Energy Ratings

Julian Williams, Director, Abba Energy Ltd

Richard McCarthy, Director, Abbeymead Building Ltd

Philip Haile, Active Passive Energy Consultants

Karen Turnbull, Sustainability Leader, ADP (Architects Design Partnership)

Andrew Simmonds, CEO, AECB

George Goudsmit, Managing Director, AES

Donna Hunt, Head of Sustainability, Aggregate Industries

Martin Wright, Managing Director, AHR

Heather Moorhead, Owner, alba epc Ltd

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group

Gary Newman, Executive Chair, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

Andrew James, AMJ Designworks

Andrew Catto, Director, Andrew Catto Architects

Spencer Crocker, Architectural Designer, Antevasin Design

Jack Harvie-Clarke, Founder, Apex Acoustics

David Sumsion, Director, Arbour Architecture

Steven Harris, Co-Founder, Architecture and Energy

Nick Donaldson, Architect, ARCO2 Architecture

David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent (Property Development) Services LLP

Asif Din, Asif Din Architecture Design

Chris Askew, Askew Cavanna Architects

John Christophers, Associate, Associated Architects

Dr Joanne Wade, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy

Patrick Bellew, Principal, Atelier Ten

Steven Knight, Director, Autonomy Homes

Rab Bennetts, Director, Bennetts Associates Architects

Rob Bould, CEO, Bilfinger GVA

Sue Riddlestone OBE, CEO & co-founder, Bioregional

Tony Duckworth, Associate, Black Architecture

Nicolas Guérin, Managing Director, Bouygues Development

Alex Hunt, Partner, Bright Green Homes LLP

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Julian Brooks, Founder Director, Brooks Development Practice

Chris Brummitt, Principal, Brummitt Architects

Mike Cook, Chairman, BuroHappold

Iain Cox, Chairman, Business Sprinkler Alliance

Dr Jason Palmer, Director, Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd

Jonathan Atkinson, Project Manager, Carbon Co-op

Paul Cayford, Founder, Cayford Architecture

Chris Swinburn, Principal Engineer, CBG Consultants

Mark Watts, Chief Executive, Cedar Rydal

Charles Green, Principle Designer, Charles Green Design

Clare Nash, Founder, Clare Nash Architecture

Andrew Clifford, Director, Clifford Atkins

Clive Jones, Founder, Clive Jones Architect Ltd

Gordon Sheret, Sales and Marketing Director, Cofely UK

Eric Fewster, Director, ColdProof

Paul Vockins, Head of Sustainability, Colliers International

Don Ward, Chief Executive, Constructing Excellence

Peter Smithdale, Director, Constructive Individuals Ltd

Greg Slater, Interim CEO, Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust

Yvonne Raymond, Manager, Corporate Care

Charlie Mackinnon-Little, Director, Cotswold Green Energy

Dr N G Cutland, Director, Cutland Consulting Limited

Sonny Masero, Chairman, Demand Logic

Derek Monckton, Derek Monckton Renewable Energy and Building Services

Derek Scoble, Derek Scoble Architects

Andrew Palmer, Director, Distinctive Property Development

Tony Cocker, CEO, E.ON UK

Christopher North and Margery Ward, Directors, Earth and Reed

James Traynor, Director of Architecture, ECD Architects

Alan Budden, Founding Director, Eco Design Consultants

Andrew Hodchild, Managing Director, Eco Heat & Power Ltd

Paul Hutchens, Managing Director, Eco2 Solar

Dermot Barnes, Managing Director, ecodomus

Penny Randell, General Manager, Ecological Building Systems UK

Paul Ellis, Chief Executive, Ecology Building Society

Kevin Knapp, Director, Ecolution

Sally Francis, Owner, EcoRefab

Kit Knowles, Sustainability Consultant, ecospheric

Tim Hulse, Director, EcoVert Solutions Ltd

Trevor Lowis, Proprietor, Eden Insulation

Chris Hocknell, Technical Director, Eight Associates

Steve Bratt, CEO, Electrical Contractors’ Association

Sam Foster, Senior Consultant, elementenergy

Helen Brown, Head of Building Physics, Encraft

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust

Thomas Lefevre, Director, Etude

Michael Pawlyn, Director, Exploration

Paul Finch, Director, Finbo Construction Project Management

Steve Floyd, Director, Floyd & Field

Robin Hillier, Director, Forever Green Projects

Dr Sally Uren, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future

Sarah Harrison, Founder, Eco-refurbishment

Ian Mawditt, Director and Head of Building Research, fourwalls

Andrew Gould, Partner, Genr8 Developments

Dr Keith Baker, School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University

Andrew Goodman, Owner, Good Architecture

Matthew Spencer, Director, Green Alliance

Jenny Bishop, Director, Green Architect

Chris Herring and Bill Butcher, Directors, Green Building Store

Peter Chisnall, Director, Green Peaches C.I.C

William Meadowcroft, Owner, Green Source Heat Ltd

Ian McHugh, Principal, Green Triangle Studio

Rachel Mitchell, Owner, Greenbox Associates

Toby Cambray, Partner, Greengauge Building Energy Consultants

Donald Macritchie, Managing Director, Greenspace Live

Gil Schalom, Principal, GSD Architecture

Mike Roberts, Managing Director, HAB Housing

Louis Halstead, Director, Halstead Technology Solution Providers

Phil Hawdon, Hawdon Russell Architects

Carol Long, Environmental Technology Surveyor and Energy Assessor,Hawthorn Environmental Services

Maria Hawton-Mead, Sustainability Consultant, Hawton Mead

Jonathan Hetreed, Director, Hetreed Ross Architects

Chris Birch, Director of Sustainability, Hilson Moran

Richard Hodkinson, Managing Director, Hodkinson Consultancy

Chris Bannister, Partner, Hopkins Architects

Rory Bergin, Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design

Matthew Mason, ICFDIRECT

Peter Connolly, Chief Executive, Igloo Regeneration

Debbie Webb, Commercial Manager, Inazin

Ramon Arratia, European Sustainability Director, Interface

Joanna Lindley, JL Studio Architecture

Mark Stupples, UK Chief Operating Officer, JLL

Julian Bishop, Julian Bishop-Architect

Ken Neal, Principal, Ken Neal & Associates

Richard Burnley, Managing Director, Kingspan Insulation

Dr Stephen Pretlove, Associate Professor of Architectural Science + Technology, Kingston University London

Kirsty Maguire, Director and Lead Architect, Kirsty Maguire Architect

Mark Pellant, Director, koru architects

Dan Chaplin, Housing Development Operations Manager, Latch (Leeds Action to Create Homes)

Paul King, Managing Director Sustainability, Communications & Marketing,LendLease Europe

Clare Murray, Head of Sustainability, Levitt Bernstein

Chris Richards, Lilly Lewarne Practice Chartered Architects

Frances Grant, Architect, Livedifferent

Stuart Roberts, Owner, Living Logic

Tad Korbusz, Living-Sense Environmental Design & Energy Consultancy

Chris Morgan, Principal, Locate Architects

Richard Lomas, Principal, Lomas Architecture Ltd

Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet member for Sustainability and Environment,London Borough of Camden

John Dash, Secretary, London Quakers Property Trust

Dominic Skeaping, Director, London Solar

Mischa Hewitt, Project Manager, Low Carbon Trust

Keith Miller, Low Energy Architecture

Paul Lucas, Director, Lucas Hickman Smith

Simon Allen, Lumina Consulting Services Limited

Richard Asbury, Founder, Maack Architects

Ben Williams, Managing Director, MagmaTech

Patrick McCool, Director, Make My Home Green

Tamsin Tweddell, Sustainability Team Leader, Max Fordham

Miranda Pennington BA, Director, Metropolis Green

Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director, Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA)

Donald Daw, Divisional Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems UK

Neill Lewis, neill lewis architect

Danny Lee, Sustainability Director, New Sustainable Building Model Ltd

Malcolm Newton, Director, Newton Architects

Cal Bailey, Sustainability Director, NG Bailey

David Kerr, General Manager, Norfolk Solar

Alfonso Senatore, CEO & Founder, Ongreening

David Rhodes, Director, Origin3 Studio

Ted Osborne, Owner, Osborne Construction Consulting

Terry Pinto, Director, PAAD Architects

Mhairi Grant, Director, Paper Igloo Limited

Russell Smith, Managing Director, Parity Projects

Chris Parsons, Director, Parsons + Whittley Architects

Hagop Matossian, Consultant, Passive Natural

Janet Cotterell, Director, Passivhaus Homes Ltd

Jon Bootland, Chief Executive, Passivhaus Trust

Paul Testa, Paul Testa Architecture

Alun Watkins, Executive Director, PEFC UK

Jonathan Bates, Managing Director, Photon Energy

Steve Malkin, CEO, Planet First

Anmarie Price, Director, Point 6 Projects

Tom Dollard, Head of Sustainable Design, Pollard Thomas Edwards

Peter Holmes, Director, Potter & Holmes Architects

Robert Prewett, Director, Prewett Bizley Architects

Lucy Smallwood, Sustainability Consultant, Price & Myers 

Andy von Bradsky, Chairman, PRP

Chris Usher, Director, QuadConsult

Richard Dawson, R Dawson Architect

David Garlovsky, CEO, Recovery Insulation

Charlie Baker, Director, Red Cooperative

Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association

Rob Rickey, Designer and Consultant, Rob Rickey Design

Rory Moss, Managing Director, Rockwool

Peter Rolton, Chairman, Rolton Group

Robert Russell, Partner, Rowan and Partners

David Johnston, Partner, RPC

Peter Hindle MBE, Senior Vice-President, Sustainable Habitat, Saint-Gobain and General Delegate, Saint-Gobain (UK Ireland and South Africa)

Clive Church, Managing Director, Sauter Automation Limited

Kirsten Elder, Lead Sustainability Consultant, Scotch Partners

Stuart Shand, Shand Architecture

Ivo Schaedler, General Manager, Sika

Tony Aikenhead, Director of Operations, Sir Robert McAlpine

Claus Best, Smart Energy Services

Dr Judith J Perry, Director, Sohnius & Perry Ltd

Paul Barwell, CEO, Solar Trade Association

Seb Berry, Head of Public Affairs, Solarcentury

Jerry Evans, Principal, Southpoint

Stuart Barlow, Architect Sustainability Consultant, Director, SPB Sustainability

Adrian Speller, Director of Sustainability, Speller Metcalfe

Rob Bumby, Director, Stack Architects

John Wright, Sustainability Director, Stride Treglown Architects

Mark Richards, Founder, Studio24 architects LLP

Mark Parsons, Director, Studio Polpo

Simon Sturgis, Managing Director, sturgis carbon profiling

Gabriel Wondrausch, Managing Director, SunGift Energy

Nick Parsons, Consultant, Sustainable Building

Paul Sutcliffe, Operations Director, Sustainable Commercial Solutions

John Peapell, Managing Director, Sustainable Solutions UK Ltd

Terry Hyland, Principal, Sustainable Wood Architecture & Building

Simon Brown, Principal, SustainByDesign

Alan King, Managing Director, Syntegra Consulting

Simone Wright, Partner, Tandem

Mark Wakelin, Director, Tangent Space Architectural Design

Jonathan Clemens, Head of Marketing – Construction and Infrastructure, Tata Steel

Ruairi Kay, Director, Taylor Kay Architecture

Steven Johnson, Owner, The Architecture Ensemble

John Bonning, Commercial Director, The Building Centre

Michael Foley, Director, The Energy Practice

Lucy Pedler, Director, The Green Register

Diana Ray, Owner, The Living Green Centre

Martin Chandler, Consultant, The Making Project

Guy Battle, Director, The Sustainable Business Partnership

Peter Ranken, Senior Associate, The Tooley & Foster Partnership

Fraser Haran, Chief Executive, The Westcrowns Group

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts

Gunnar Hubbard, Principal and Sustainability Practice Leader, Thornton Tomasetti

Judith Tranter, Director, TM Architects

Tom Foster, Principal, Tom Foster Architecture

Reuben Wilkinson, Director, Touchwood Homes

John Emery, Owner, Treework Flooring

Mike Jacob, Trunk Low Energy Building

Mat Lown, Partner, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor

Chris Twinn, Principal, Twinn Sustainability Innovation

Paul Ruyssevelt, Professor of Energy and Building Performance, and Partnerships Director, UCL Energy Institute

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council

James Cameron, UK Green Building Council Board Trustee

Paul Gard, Director, Umbazi

Professor Will Swan, School of Built Environment, University of Salford

Marianne Heaslip, Sustainability Consultant, URBED (Urbanism Environment Design)

Dave Worthington, Managing Director, Verco

Estelle Littlewood, Director & Passivhaus Designer, Verve Architects Ltd

Stuart Elmes, CEO, Viridian Solar

Colin Williams, Architectural and Energy Consultant, WCK Design & Conservation

Professor Phil Jones, Chair Architectural Science, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University

Alex Flach, Property Director, Whitbread

Jackie Richards, Director, Whole House Energy

Jim Eyre, Founding Director, Wilkinson Eyre Architects

John Frankiewicz, Divisional Chief Operating Officer, Willmott Dixon Ltd

Ian Wood, Director, Wood & Sons (Properties) Ltd

Lin Worthy, Worthy Business Development Ltd

Trevor Hutchings, Director of Advocacy, WWF UK

Nick Perks, Director, Wyvern Construction

Ricardo Moreira, Managing Director, XCO2 Energy

Paul Bourgeois, Director, Zero Carbon Britain Ltd

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