Kent countryside

Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has published his Review into Net Zero, with a suite of recommendations for government to consider, including measures for new homes. The energy crisis that started in 2022 was a watershed moment for net zero, and Skidmore’s Independent Review of Net Zero examines how the UK could deliver its own ambitions to transform our future energy transition.

Commissioned by Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Net Zero Review makes 129 recommendations, with a caveat that warns of the consequences of delaying action, as has previously happened before with the Future Homes Standard. Of the recommendations, the first two both refer to ‘Cleaner, Greener Homes’, stating:

Objective 1

  • Fix a date for the new and replacement gas boiler phase out date – the review recommends bringing this forward from 2035 to 2033.
  • Set a legislative target for gas free homes and appliances by the same date, to contribute to a gas free grid.
  • Legislate to ensure all homes sold from 2033 must have an EPC rating of C or above. This would include exceptions, for example listed properties.


Objective 2

  • Bring forward all work for the Future Homes Standard by 2025.
  • As part of this, include a consultation on mandating new homes to be built with solar and deliver the Net Zero Homes Standard to ensure the planning system is flexible enough to enable this.

In terms of homes, a key message is to reduce energy demand in the first place, which is essential for reaching net zero goals.

As such a focus needs to be placed on building fabric and appliances, and the review emphasises that activity around this can boost industry. In addition, this will bring down energy bills for homeowners, make homes warmer in summer and cooler in winter and add value when it comes to selling their home.

The Net Zero review also calls for significant government support, stating that “Without government intervention, spending on energy would be equivalent to an eye watering 7% of GDP, more than the health budget (before the current Energy Price Guarantee was announced).”

The Net Zero review also references the greater challenges that SMEs will face in delivering these ambitions. The review recommends a programme of SME role models to provide mentoring and training opportunities, as well as a wider programme of tax incentives for investment in decarbonisation and reviewing capital allowances.

Image by Andrea Don from Pixabay

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