Leading MK Labour councillors have attacked Conservative Government plans to reduce energy efficiency standards for new homes and remove the ability of local authorities such as Milton Keynes Council.
The Government is planning to introduce changes to Building Regulations, standards for new homes being built and changes to existing properties, which will reduce the level of energy efficiency standards they will have to meet. Currently Part L regulations mean buildings must be built to standards they will meet once built, new relations will allow developers to submit applications based on how they only intend buildings to perform.
Crucially the Conservative Government also plan to strip councils in England of the ability to set higher local standards if they want to. MK Council recently passed a motion to become carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050, and will now lose the power to set world-leading standards for housing developments if the Conservative changes go ahead.
The changes to government policy have been called “a step backwards,” by leading environmental campaigners, builders and architects, such as the London Energy Transformation Initiative and the Architects Climate Action Network. Concerns have been expressed that the downgrading of building regulations is being misleadingly promoted as increasing standards.
Now leading Labour councillors have called on the city Conservative MPs to oppose the changes and are highlighting that it is yet another step by the Conservative Government over the last decade of hand developer’s control of the planning and building process.
Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “The Conservative plans to reduce the environmental standards on new developments, and remove the ability of forward thinking local authorities like Milton Keynes to set our own higher standards, are disgraceful. It is obvious that this is a continuation of giving developers more ability to do as they like, where they like with less and less say from local people.”
She continued: “Rather than setting world-leading targets to tackle climate change, independent experts are saying these regulations will be a step backwards fighting the climate emergency. Our MPs should oppose these changes, but in reality we know that Conservative policy is to stand with fat-cat developers and put profit before properly planned growth.”
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK Council, said: “These changes show that developers are in charge of the Conservative Party planning policies. If the Conservatives don’t want to tackle climate change or stand up to developers, they at least shouldn’t block progressive councils that will from taking action.”