The UK Government should act now to address the “increasing uncomfortable and unsafe” national housing stock, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The CCC’s ‘UK housing: Fit for the future?’ report warns that the UK Climate Change Act target of reducing emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 will not be reached without the “near-complete elimination” of emissions from UK buildings.
The report claims that Government U-turns and suddenly policy changes have created a skills gap in housing design and construction, which has led to emissions from the UK’s 29 million homes to stall rather than shrink.
At the same time, the UK housing stock is unprepared for future climate impacts, the report notes. Around 4.5 million homes suffer from overheating, while 1.8 million are located in areas of significant flood risks. The report warns that water scarcity and increased temperatures could create unsafe and detrimental living conditions for UK citizens.
Energy use in homes increased in 2016 and accounts for 14% of total UK emissions. However, the report claims that existing technology could deliver high-quality, low-carbon and climate-resilient homes, if new policies can plug the existing skills and knowledge gaps.
The report criticises the withdrawal of key low-carbon policy frameworks, notably the zero carbon homes scheme. The CCC claims that policies that boost uptake of low-carbon technologies could save households in new homes between £70 and £260 on annual energy bills.
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