WWF resigns from zero-carbon homes taskforce

Campaign group blames resignation on government decision to weaken zero-carbon homes target

Campaign group WWF has resigned from the zero-carbon homes taskforce following the government’s decision in the budget to weaken the policy.

The Zero Carbon Taskforce was set up by the government in 2007 to support the development and implementation of its policy to ensure all new homes built from 2016 emit zero carbon. The taskforce includes senior executives from government, the house building sector and environmental groups.

The zero-carbon target was to be achieved by builders constructing energy-efficient homes with on-site renewable energy generation. They would compensate for remaining emissions through off-site emissions savings such as paying into a fund for local renewable energy.

But at the budget, the government announced housebuilders will only be accountable for the CO2 emissions from energy use for heating, hot water, fixed lighting and building services, and not those from plug-in appliances and cookers. This means that in 2016 new homes will only be two-thirds of the way to zero-carbon (ENDS Report, March 2011).

In his resignation letter WWF-UK’s head of campaigns Colin Butfield told housing minister Grant Shapps the government’s decision “significantly undermines” the zero-carbon homes policy. It sends the “worst possible signal” to companies who were preparing to meet the target, Mr Butfield said, and underlined that WWF was no longer able to support the policy or remain on the taskforce.