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Brown’s Zero Carbon Tax Breaks Don’t Go Far Enough, Says UK Online Building Directory; the Construction

Gordon Brown’s announcement in May this year that new carbon zero homes would be exempt from stamp duty was positively received by both the public and construction industry. However, The Construction today voiced its concern that the directive to build zero carbon homes is not being achieved.

Kenilworth, United Kingdom, October 12, 2007 --( As yet the Government has not formally announced the definition of exactly what constitutes a zero carbon home in order to achieve the stamp duty tax break. This means that many of the new homes built may not achieve the standards set and fail to qualify. The Code for Sustainable Homes is designed to help the government reach its zero carbon targets by 2016 but industry experts are warning that both existing commercial and residential buildings will need to be incorporated into the Government’s plan if the targets are to be fully met.

In addition it is thought that up to 98% of private housebuilders have not yet adopted sustainable building methods and most Housing Association developments are currently only reaching minimum standards. This could also further delay the likelihood of the Government reaching its goals in time.

The Construction believes that the key is to bring existing buildings into line with some of the measures outlined for new buildings in order to reduce the amount of carbon emissions currently produced by the UK. At the Green Construction Summit last week Philip Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said “If we aren’t prepared to do this for our existing stock, it will make all of our aspirations unachievable.” He continued by suggesting that the Government should introduce tax breaks for landlords and house owners to encourage the adoption of energy saving and renewable technologies.

Subsequent to these comments Construction Centre, Managing Director Richard Simmons and property developer for over 30 years suggested “A discount on Council Tax for all houses with solar panels could make a really significant impact on the zero carbon targets and one which would be easy to police. The government needs to move on from people just recycling a few wine bottles towards encouraging practices which will have a bigger impact on climate change.”

The Governments zero carbon targets and focus on sustainable building have been widely commended but The Construction Centre believes the industry, right down to the brick layer, needs to understand exactly what is expected of them through clear guidelines and enforced standards in order to successfully move the UK towards a greener environment.

The Construction was clear in its support for sustainable building practices but urged the Government to consider widening the net to incorporate the existing UK housing stock to achieve the 2016 targets.

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The Construction Centre
Angela Gallacher
01926 865825

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