Green Housing Policy

BSA letter to the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Dear Prime Minister 

Green Housing Policy

I am writing on behalf of Building Societies Association members to urge you to reconsider the relaxation of the Net Zero housing policies announced on 20 September. In particular, our members are concerned about the potential consequences of scrapping proposed minimum energy efficiency standards and extending the deadline for new fossil fuel boilers.  

Whilst our members appreciate the pressures on households created by the current economic context and cost of living crisis and continue to support borrowers affected, the green housing measures that have now been delayed would have provided much needed certainty to the market. We have long called for a comprehensive, long-term Government strategy for improving the energy efficiency of housing in the UK. Such a strategy would encourage greater investment by business in the industries, technologies, and skilled labour that must be built up and deployed to ensure that Government meets its legally mandated Net Zero goals. It would also boost demand by enabling consumers to make decisions about the energy efficiency of their homes with confidence and the support of Government. At an absolute minimum, this strategy must include support measures in terms of consumer education and funding for those unable to pay to ensure a just transition to Net Zero. 

Far from providing these assurances to the market,  the relaxation or abandonment of the planned housing policies will create further uncertainty and delay the necessary investment in the home retrofit and energy efficiency industries. The costs associated with these delays will ultimately be borne by consumers, which include higher energy costs in the short-term and potentially higher costs to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. There are also unseen societal costs of forcing many families to live in colder, damper, draughtier homes. Inevitably, the greatest burden will fall to those least able to incur the costs of improving their homes. 

In short, and noting your personal commitment to ensuring we reach Net Zero, we ask that you reconsider the announcements relaxing the Net Zero requirements for housing and commit to developing and implementing a long-term strategy for ensuring a just transition for the nation’s homeowners. 

Yours sincerely

Robin Fieth
Chief Exective, BSA