Call from council leader to change rules on low carbon building

Published
03.12.2021

Gloucester City Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Richard Cook today wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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Councillor Richard Cook is calling on the Treasury to change the rules on low carbon building renovations to ensure more buildings are repurposed and upgraded, rather than demolished and replaced at significant environmental cost.

Current Treasury rules mean that Value Added Tax (VAT) is applied to building renovations, but not to new build property, encouraging unsustainable demolition and discouraging low carbon ‘retrofitting’.

By increasing building costs for individual homeowners who wish to reduce their carbon footprint, and all varieties of landlords wanting to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties, significant opportunities to eliminate built environment emissions and reduce energy costs for the fuel poor are not being fully realised.

The built environment is responsible for 40 percent of U.K domestic emissions, and represents both a significant threat to the country’s ambitious decarbonisation targets and one of its largest potential sources of emissions reductions and opportunities to reduce resource depletion.

Councillor Cook said: “The National Infrastructure Commission estimates that we need to deliver over 21 million individual heat energy efficiency measures to buildings in England by 2035. This includes insulating ten million lofts, six million floors, and almost 45 million walls.

“Investing in energy efficiency and low-carbon renovations represents huge opportunity to drastically cut construction sector emissions, generate skilled employment, and improve the living standards of those currently experiencing fuel poverty.

“Removing or significantly reducing VAT on building works that reduce our emissions, assist small and medium-sized businesses, and help reduce financial pressures on households, represents a win, win, win for the country. I very much hope the Chancellor seriously considers this measure, which enjoys wide support across the political spectrum, construction industry, and the third sector.”

You can also view a PDF version of this letter.

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