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Green body eyes zero CO2 role

UK Green Building Council charged with working out system to co-ordinate housing and its supply chain

The UK Green Building Council is looking into becoming the new delivery body to oversee zero carbon housing.

The organisation has been appointed by housing minister Yvette Cooper to conduct a four week study to work out the details of how a new delivery body would work.

The Government-backed Callcutt Review called for a new organisation to co-ordinate house building and its supply chain, including product manufacturers and energy suppliers, to meet zero carbon targets.

The UK-GBC, which includes house builders Barratt and Berkeley, will submit its findings before Christmas. A decision on the new delivery body is expected early next year.

Chief executive Paul King admitted it would look at performing the role itself. He said: “It’s certainly a possibility for us to do this. Yvette Cooper has made it clear to us that she wants to get on with this.”
Over the next month, the UK-GBC will be looking at the energy supply to zero carbon properties and training needed.

John Callcutt’s review also called for local authorities and house builders to form partnerships to make sure surplus public sector land is properly built on.

Housing Forum chief executive Shelagh Grant said: “It’s a new way of thinking but we need to make sure the local authorities make the most of the private sector’s knowledge in a genuine partnership.”

A British Property Federation spokesman said: “By looking to develop strategic and long-term partnerships between councils and developers we can guarantee the regeneration of our deprived areas by offering private firms the carrot of more profitable work in others.”

The first such partnerships are already being developed as part of the proposals outlined in the housing green paper. Fourteen local authorities have been chosen to pilot for local housing companies; they sell off surplus land to the companies, which then develop them with up to 50 per cent affordable housing.

House builders also said it was time to address planning, seen as the major stumbling block to build more houses.

House Builders Federation executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “I really worry whether we are going to be able to build these houses because of the system we have in this country and how long it takes to get projects through planning.

“That is now the biggest friction between the aspirations of central government and delivery at a local level.”

Key advice

  1. Planning laws should be amended to prevent house builders sitting on undeveloped sites.

  2. House builders’ financial reports should include more transparent reporting of their land holdings.

  3. The public sector should stipulate rapid building as a condition of any land it disposes of to improve speed of housing delivery.

  4. Local authorities should form partnerships with one or more house builders to ensure brownfield land development is fully exploited.

  5. Within two years, the Government should cease any deals with house builders that fail to meet predetermined quality standards.

  6. A national design review process for house building should be set up to create more design standardisation.

  7. A specific definition of a zero carbon home be established by the end of 2008.

Analysis: Action must now follow applause

By Alasdair Reisner

John Callcutt probably deserves at least two-and-a-half cheers for the work he and his team have done in delivering the report that bears his name this week.

There is little in the report that is revolutionary or likely to set the house builders quaking in their muddy boots.

What it does contain is a range of common sense solutions to the seemingly intractable problem of massively increasing the number of homes built at a time when developers claim they are struggling to get enough schemes off the ground.

The real challenge now will be turning what is, after all, merely a set of recommendations on paper into reality on the ground.

That will require commitment across the board, from house builders and from local and central government.

If that is achieved three cheers for everyone will be richly deserved.

Related news:

Analysis: The Callcutt Review

Callcutt Review: Councils must form developer partnerships