Election 2019

Election 2019: Labour pledges new-build homes 'zero carbon' by 2022

Man laying loft insulation Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The plans would involve installing "super-efficient" insulation in new homes

Labour is promising to make all new-build homes "zero carbon" within three years, in an effort to curb housing shortages and tackle climate change.

A Labour government would introduce "tough" standards for new builds which would see homes fitted with solar panels and not having gas boilers.

The party says it would save £200 a year per house in energy bills.

The Conservative Party described the plan as "unrealistic" and said it would slow house building.

The proposals would mean the day-to-day running of the new homes would not add extra carbon to the atmosphere.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, on the campaign trail in Swindon on Saturday, said: "There is no greater issue facing this world than the environmental disaster waiting to happen and the climate change that is happening very obviously all around us."

During a speech to supporters at Commonweal Sixth Form College, Mr Corbyn also responded to US President Donald Trump's recent remark that he would be "so bad" as prime minister.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour is hoping to take Swindon's two Conservative-held seats in next month's election

He said Mr Trump was "entitled to his choice", adding: "I'm prepared, as our Labour government, to meet anybody and put to them our views on peace, on justice, on human rights, on environmental sustainability, because our government will be a force for all of those things all over the world."

Mr Corbyn went on to say he would not back Nicola Sturgeon's call for a second referendum on Scottish independence. "I think the much better option is a Labour government for the whole of the UK," he said.

The speech also saw the Labour leader promise to end privatisation of the NHS, and lay out his plan to negotiate a new Brexit deal before offering the country a second referendum, which would include an option to stay in the EU.

Reaching out to Leave and Remain voters, he said: "Both of you need a Labour government that's going to bring people together."

How will 'zero carbon' homes work?

Labour says their pledge to make all new-build homes 'zero carbon' by 2022 would be achieved through better efficiency standards and using low carbon and renewable energy sources.

New homes would not be fitted with fossil fuel heating systems, such as gas boilers, as standard and would have "super-efficient insulation" and triple-glazed windows.

The last Labour government introduced regulations to make all homes "zero carbon" by 2016, but it was scrapped by the Conservatives six months before it was due to come into force, Labour said.

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Media captionThe eco-friendly council estate that won an architecture award

Asked about the added cost of installing greener heating, Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey said it would be a "relatively small" sum compared to the total cost of new builds.

"It's totally do-able without big price increases," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

"We really should be looking to house builders to absorb these costs as well because this is an industry, in recent years, that has made billions in profits and paid millions in bonuses to top executives," he said.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "As usual, Labour are setting unrealistic targets that would slow down house-building and put up house prices.

"Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are taking a practical, sensible approach to reducing emissions from homes. We are introducing a 'future homes standard' that will ensure new homes meet reductions in emissions by a third by 2020, and world-leading by 2025."

In a recent report, the Committee on Climate Change said greenhouse gas emission reductions from UK housing have stalled, concluding "homes are not fit for the future".

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