We're creating a single website for everything to do with BIS but, while we do that, you'll find information in three places. > Find what you're looking for
Malcolm Wicks MP, Minister of State for Energy
Women's Institute AGM, Cardiff, 07 June 2006
Motion: This meeting urges all levels of government to put in place legislation and policy requiring the use of renewable energy technologies in all new buildings, re-building and renovation.
Our climate is changing. Melting ice sheets, rising sea-levels, flooded cities. These are all part of our future and our children’s future. And not because of some immutable force of nature. The body of scientific evidence is overwhelming – the changes in our planet’s environment are a direct result of human action.
The good news is that because we have caused the problem, we can become the solution. And this is not just a matter for the G8 or the EU – we must all take responsibility. As individuals we are responsible for 27% of this country’s total emissions of carbon dioxide. Renewable energy technologies, alongside energy efficiency, have a real part to play in reducing this figure.
As a Government our record is good in terms of putting in place the legislative and regulatory framework required to promote renewable energy in new buildings.
In 2004 we published Planning Policy Statement 22. This statement requires local authorities to consider the opportunity for incorporating renewable energy in all new developments. Perhaps more importantly it allows local authorities to set targets for on-site energy in new projects. London Borough of Merton led the way with a requirement that 10% of the energy needs of new developments should be met through renewable energy.
But we need to go further and faster – we should be setting a long-term ambition to move towards carbon neutral development. We are putting the pieces in place to do just that.
The Department of Communities and Local Government is developing a new planning policy statement on climate change. This statement will show how the planning process can be used to deliver renewable technologies.
Building Regulations have played their part in driving up standards. New homes built today will have to meet energy efficiency standards that are 40% higher than in 2002. The Code for Sustainable Homes will take us yet further with higher minimum energy efficiency levels than Building Regulations and a points system that rewards the use of renewable technologies.
So we are well down the road in terms of encouraging renewable energy in new build. But new build is only part of the problem. We need to tackle existing buildings as well. This is why we recently published a strategy for the promotion of microgeneration. This strategy sets out a wide range of actions aimed at developing a sustainable market in microgeneration technologies. We also have an £80m capital grant programme over the next three years, which we will be using to drive up the numbers of installations in both new and existing buildings.
So Government is doing its bit, and will continue our efforts to promote the integration of renewable technologies into buildings – both old and new. But we need more grassroots activity, by individuals and communities. The Women’s Institute is clearly well placed to mobilise communities across the UK, and I very much hope that you will work with us to help solar panels and wind turbines become commonplace rather than cause for comment.