The UK government’s regeneration agency, the Homes and Communities Agency, allowed developers to avoid compliance with new environmental standards in a bid to increase housebuilding activity.
The news, revealed by Inside Housing magazine, shows that major developers were permitted to ignore the UK’s Code for Sustainable Homes for up to 86% of the 500-plus homes they developed under the former Labor Government’s regeneration push. This is despite grant funding to developers being officially dependent on compliance with Code level three.
Whilst the HCA has defended the exemptions as being justified for ‘specific reasons,’ the news is disappointing.
In difficult economic times (and the severe ongoing impact of the GFC on the UK housebuilding industry is fully acknowledged) short termism often becomes the order of the day. New sustainable development standards have unsurprisingly been a casualty.
But what is particularly disappointing is the fact that government failed to defend the very standards it claims to uphold. The costs of constructing to lesser standards will have be borne in the future, through increased maintenance and running costs. Not a good outcome for the social housing sector and those who depend on it.