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UK housing policy

Kevin McCloud: Government is hampering supply of better, greener homes
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Kevin McCloud

The government is stopping local authorities from building the next generation of better, greener homes, says leading designer Kevin McCloud.

The TV presenter is backing legal action challenging rules that he says stop local authorities from building energy-efficient houses.

In a video filmed with Good Law Project, McCloud says that national building policy ‘just isn’t up to scratch’ and that local authorities should be able to impose’“better standards’ for builders and developers to tackle fuel poverty.

He also accuses the government of ‘hampering its own climate pledges’.

The legal challenge

In December, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities issued guidance, through a Written Ministerial Statement, that McCloud says stops local authorities from going beyond national building standards to ensure developers build new homes that are more energy efficient.

McCloud is supporting the legal challenge against DLUHC, brought by Rights Community Action with support from Good Law Project.

It argues that the guidance unlawfully undermines local authorities and goes against the objectives of the Climate Change Act 2008.

The campaign has so far seen over 4,000 people email Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove voicing their opposition to the policy.

‘The UK is in dire need of new homes. And not just any old houses but stonking new ones fit for the future.

‘It makes absolute sense that local authorities should be able to impose better standards on builders and developers when it comes to delivering new housing. But central government has put barriers in place restricting local authorities from doing anything that exceeds national policy.

‘National policy just isn’t up to scratch. And the irony is that by limiting local authorities, central government is in effect hampering its own climate pledges. Sustainability isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, which is why Good Law Project is partnering with Rights Community Action to change policy and hand back control to local authorities.

‘Let’s not miss the opportunity to build better, greener homes.’

KEVIN MCCLOUD
Designer and broadcaster

A ‘draconian policy’

McCloud was one of the signatories of a letter to the Levelling Up Secretary following the December guidance.

The letter raised concerns about factual errors in the guidance and that it was published without any public consultation or discussion with local authorities.

‘Having Kevin McCloud’s backing is a huge boost to the campaign. His expert voice amplifies the chorus of calls we have seen from local authority and other industry leaders – as well as thousands of members of the public – for Michael Gove to drop his department’s draconian policy.

‘There is no logic to the roadblock the government has thrown down in front of local authorities’ plans to tackle fuel poverty and the climate emergency. We now want to prove the guidance is unlawful through the courts.’

IAN BROWNE
Legal manager at Good Law Project

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