In a consultation, published in August 2013, proposals were made to amend or repeal the Planning and Energy Act 2008, a move which would remove the only remaining power that enables councils to require new developments to be more energy efficient and to include cost-effective on-site generation. The proposals were made based on the assumption that the Building Regulations 2013 were now sufficiently strengthened to mean the Act is no longer required.
Whilst the summary of responses from the consultation mean the Planning and Energy Act will be retained, amendments to the Deregulation Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will remove the part of the act which applies to higher energy efficiency standards.
Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said:
“We think this is completely the wrong decision. The ability to specify the use of energy from renewables onsite has been retained and we are supportive of this but it is perverse to drop the energy efficiency provisions – the most cost-effective component of the Act. The Building Regulations are not yet sufficiently strengthened to secure a high enough level of energy efficiency to warrant the removal of this important part of the Act. It should not be removed until such time as this is the case.
“Once again, we see the Department for Communities and Local Government making a complete mockery of efforts elsewhere in Government to promote energy saving – the most cost effective way of meeting all of our energy needs.”