I spoke at a ‘Road to Zero Carbon’ conference today in Reading. Hosted by the Ecos trust. It was a good event, pulling together speakers from housing, commercial buildings, schools, residential buildings and legislation( in the form of the Zero Carbon Hub). What was worrying is that the prospect of early clarity on the definition of zero carbon looks unlikely, despite the noises coming from Government that there will be an announcement ‘soon’ or ‘within weeks’ it appears that the groundwork that would support this simply hasn’t happened due to the change in Government and it will be months and not weeks before an agreed definition appears. This is not helpful as it means that there is continuing uncertainty in the market for housebuilders and developers buying land. If they do not know the cost of what they are being asked to deliver, then they cannot estimate properly the price they should be paying for the land. Why not have an interim step? Use the 70% definition now, from 2016 until say 2020, and use some time to decide whether this is the best long-term figure. We also need at least one allowable solution now, with a benchmark carbon price attached to it to use in making decisions, others can follow in due course.
I wonder if the ‘Road to Zero Carbon’ should be rebadged as ‘the cycle path to zero carbon’ or just the ‘path to zero carbon’? Just a thought.
One of the speakers brilliantly highlighted a problem where one of the schools in his region had made a policy decision to keep all their lights on all year around for health and safety reasons. We all have a lot of work to do to fight off this nonsense if we are going to get to a more sustainable future.