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UKGBC shines light on local leadership on zero carbon homes

UKGBC shines light on local leadership on zero carbon homes

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)  has published two resources designed to support local authorities in tackling the climate emergency, by driving up the sustainability of new homes. The New Homes Policy Playbook and an interactive policy map provide detailed guidance and examples of best practice policy.

Local authorities up and down the country are increasingly recognising the role they must play in addressing the climate crisis. Nearly three-quarters of UK councils and combined authorities have now declared climate emergencies and committed to delivering net zero carbon by 2050.

Since the national zero carbon homes policy was scrapped in 2015, many local authorities have been taking the initiative through local planning requirements. UKGBC’s interactive policy map, which launched in November 2020 to showcase leading retrofit policies, has now been updated with a new layer of information which highlights the most ambitious local new homes policies.

The New Homes Policy Playbook, which UKGBC has regularly updated since 2018, has been given a major overhaul, and includes an expanded section on how to approach delivering net zero carbon, as well as sections on mitigating overheating risk, the cross-cutting issue of assuring performance and the role of acoustics. It is intended to be a practical resource, designed to be used and adapted to support officers with responsibility for areas such as sustainability, planning, regeneration and housing.

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said:

“It’s simply impossible to meet our carbon targets unless we get to grips with emissions from the new homes that we undoubtedly need. National policy on zero carbon homes has been chopped and changed and we still await clarity on what was supposed to be last year’s update to Building Regulations. However, many local and combined authorities, recognising the urgency, have forged ahead by using planning as a lever to drive up the carbon performance of new homes.

“It is really encouraging to see leadership being shown by local government, but a huge amount of confusion remains and there is a danger that we will end up with a patchwork of different policies in different areas. UKGBC’s overhauled Policy Playbook can equip those local authorities wishing to go further, with the resources and inspiration to introduce ambitious but deliverable policy and support a consistent approach that will be welcomed by industry.”


UKGBC is an industry-led network with a mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment.

A charity with over 400 member organisations spanning the entire value chain, we represent the voice of the industry’s current and future leaders who are striving for transformational change.

We inspire, challenge and empower our members, helping them to identify and adopt the most sustainable, viable solutions.

We also engage our members in advocating a progressive message to government, informing and influencing policy.