It was hard to spot amidst the drama of yesterday’s Brexit debates and votes in the House of Commons, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer also released his Spring Statement. Any other day that would have topped the newswires – but for us at This Land, it was still a big moment – confirming the Government ’s ambition to think big in how it wants Britain’s housing challenges to be met.
By ‘think big’, I don’t just mean numbers. Yes, the confirmation of £717million of Housing Infrastructure Fund money to unlock greater housing delivery in key regions (including Cambridgeshire) is great news for future housing delivery, but so was the focus on new green initiatives. The Treasury has now firmly come out in support of some of the key recommendations of last month’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report, Housing fit for the Future.
The Government intends to bring forward a New Homes Standard requiring all new homes to have fossil-fuel free heating systems by 2025, despite the outraged objections of the HBF and others in the volume housebuilder lobby when this was mooted in the CCC’s report. This is ambitious, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do because moving away from fossil fuel heating for both commercial and residential development is essential if the UK’s carbon reduction targets are to be met, but it’s also the right thing to do because it’s what the buyers of new homes want.
This Land’s key business driver is to deliver homes and neighbourhoods that respond to the requirements and the interests of our customers. We know our prospective customers are mostly forward-thinking and want their homes to be greener; we know this because we have asked them. They no longer want the same old identikit product, they want homes and neighbourhoods that reflect their values and their aspirations.
The Future Homes Standard will be subject to consultation. I hope the Government will stand firm in the face of the intense lobbying that is inevitably about to pour forth from the entrenched volume builder interest groups.
More-forward thinking developers will get right behind the transition to renewable heat and power and signal their strong support. It’s what our customers want, and they are right!