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8 Minute Read • Regulatory Updates

Government publishes a Written Ministerial Statement following the Future Homes Standard consultation

Regulatory Updates
Regulatory Updates

Government publishes a Written Ministerial Statement following the Future Homes Standard consultation


The Future Homes Standard Consultation, published in December last year (where did 2023 go??), is currently grabbing most of the headlines at the moment. However, at the same time, the Government also published a Written Ministerial Statement, giving us insight into how local energy efficiency standards could be managed through the planning process moving forward.

The full WMS can be found here, but we’ve summarised the key points for you below:

Local Planning Authorities have, for many years now, set their own additional energy performance standards that go over and above the requirements of the Building Regulations. Depending on the authority, these have included:

  • Improvements in carbon emission performance through enhanced building fabric or renewable energy generation (or both!)
  • A reduction in energy demand through the use of renewable energy
  • Provision of communal heating systems or district heat networks
  • Assessment of embodied carbon

These standards have often varied significantly from LPA to LPA and are enforced to varying degrees across the country. This can make navigating the planning process rather challenging when it comes to energy efficiency. The Government is looking to change all that.

The Future Homes Standard consultation will effectively make all new homes Zero Carbon ready. The WMS also states that the introduction of AD L 2021 provides much-needed consistency and clarity for the construction industry and sets a standard that demonstrates the Government’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of new homes.

As a result, the Government does not expect LPAs to set additional energy performance standards that go above and beyond those of the Building Regulations and Local Plans, and policies that do so should be rejected at examination unless:

  1. It is clear that these standards do not impact the viability of new housing and affordability.
  2. Additional performance standards are set in terms of a carbon emission reduction over the building regulation target emission rate.

The statement goes on to say that any policies that require additional energy performance standards should be implemented with flexibility in both planning decisions and appeals. And for those LPAs who continue to set additional standards, the Secretary of State will be watching and may intervene where they see fit…

What does this mean?

  • New planning applications, which are subject to additional energy performance standards, could be challenged where these standards have an impact on the viability of the development.
  • Reductions in energy demand through renewable energy or target embodied carbon reductions shouldn’t be permitted – only reductions in carbon emissions over the Target Emission Rate are allowed under this guidance.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down the Future Homes Standard into bite-sized topics, to run through the proposals and discuss their implications for the construction industry. If you’d like to know more, please sign up to receive these updates, or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch.

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New Building Regulations in Wales

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