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Eco charity resigns over new rules

Environmental charity WWF-UK has resigned from a Government taskforce to make homes “zero-carbon” after ministers watered down the rules on making houses greener.

The previous government pledged to make all new homes “zero-carbon” by 2016, meaning that overall, building and running a new home would produce no net emissions.

But buried in documents released alongside the Budget last week, it was revealed that energy used to power appliances such as TVs and dishwashers and for cooking would no longer be included in the regulations.

WWF, which was on the taskforce alongside building industry bodies and representatives of Government, said the change would make developing community renewable energy schemes - which would have made the use of electricity in the new homes green - much harder.

Under the original rules, house builders would have had to contribute to community energy projects to help the homes meet the “zero-carbon” standard.

WWF said the move would make decarbonising electricity use by 2030 much harder and would transfer the costs of cutting carbon from the house builders and homeowners to energy billpayers in general.

Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF-UK, said: “Since 2007, WWF has been dedicated to working with the Zero Carbon Taskforce on a pioneering piece of housing policy.

“So it is a shattering blow to find out, without consultation, that the Government has taken a decision to undermine both climate and housing legislation.

“WWF is left with no choice but to resign from the taskforce as the ‘zero-carbon’ homes policy comes tumbling down.”