Energy-saving homes central to climate change proposal

Mark Branagan

BUILDING better houses with energy saving measures as standard is at the centre of a message by North Yorkshire to Government legislators tackling climate change.

A proposal drawn up by each North Yorkshire local authority has been put to the Government for possible inclusion in legislation to reduce CO2 emissions.

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Many other local authorities around the country are chipping in ideas to help draw up the Sustainable Communities Act, but North Yorkshire is underlining that energy saving does not have to cost the earth.

To keep overheads down, many modern house builders do not include features such as double-glazing, underfloor heating, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation.

Council chiefs are now calling on the Government to make these features standard and encourage architects to look back at old fashioned touches such as outside porches that also retain heat.

The North Yorkshire strategy also calls 40,000 of “zero carbon” houses to be available and for energy consumption meters to be installed in every home within five years.

It also suggests a five-year programme to insulate every school and hospital, and allocating funds to pay for insulation in a million homes, with the offer of subsidies for a million more.

“This is an excellent demonstration of the commitment of all the local authorities in North Yorkshire to work together to achieve real results in the fight against climate change,” said County Councillor Carl Les, executive member for corporate services.

“As well as helping to combat carbon emissions, our proposals would have a clear benefit in alleviating fuel poverty, which is a real concern for many people, particularly those on fixed incomes, across North Yorkshire.”

As well as being approved by the district and county councils, the North Yorkshire proposals were backed in a consultation exercise involving the voluntary sector and parish councils.

Coun Les said: “There is a massive amount of ideas on a vast spectrum being put in.

“A whole range of ideas came in from individual councils and councillors.”

Other authorities around the country would be contributing ideas but they were not sharing information about what they were, he added.