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Climate change heavyweight calls for UK building regulations reform

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The UK must immediately update its building regulations to stop the construction of energy inefficient new homes, a leading climate change expert has said.  

Speaking to New Civil Engineer, Committee on Climate Change chair Lord Deben said that the UK should focus on ensuring all new homes are as efficient as possible with current housing failing to meet standards.   

“We should enact tighter building regulations [for new homes] immediately,” he said. “New homes must meet standards that will deliver energy efficiency. 

“Another important thing is that existing houses are retrofitted because they simply aren’t up to standard. The people are fed up.”  

Labour MP for Leeds Alex Sobel agreed, claiming “[the UK] construction sector is broken, we need to be [developing] factories for modular housing”.  

The UK needs to change how it builds houses if it wants to meet the Net Zero targets, he added.  

In the latest report from the CCC, Net Zero, the committee sets out how the UK must rapidly clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years, focusing on transport electrification, low carbon power, and carbon capture and storage technology to become carbon neutral.   

The mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, recently announced plans to ban glass and steel skyscrapers that don’t meet strict efficiency guidelines. Landlords will also need to retrofit existing buildings - which the mayor claims cause 70% of the pollution in the city – or face substantial fines. 

However, in the UK, Lord Deben said a much greater volume of new housing was being built compared to skyscrapers, and that should be our area of focus.  

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