Planning, building and the environment


We are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and tackling climate change - one of the most serious threats facing us today. The government has a long-term goal to reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. With homes accounting for around 27 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions, it is clear that we need to change the way we have been building our homes and communities.   

With this in mind and following a public consultation, Communites and Local Government published Building a Greener Future: policy statement  in July 2007. This policy statement confirms the government's intention for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 with a progressive tightening of the energy efficiency building regulations - by 25 per cent in 2010 and by 44 per cent in 2013 - up to the zero carbon target in 2016.

We recognise that Local Government has a pivotal role to play in helping communities take action on climate change. The Local Government White Paper gives councils new opportunities to drive local action on reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. And the post 2008 local government performance framework will include an appropriate focus on climate change.

Our commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment is demonstrated in other areas. For example, we are:

  • looking at ways of improving the energy and water efficiency of existing homes;
  • looking for opportunities to include exemplars of sustainable development in our housing;
  • and making sure that developments include important green spaces which are vital to people's health and wellbeing.

We are also working to ensure the Department is run and managed with environmental impacts in mind.

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