What the Sixth Carbon Budget means for housing associations

11 December 2020

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published their Sixth Carbon Budget, including some policy recommendations to the government which may have implications for housing associations’ work on decarbonisation.

The CCC is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 to advise the government on carbon emission targets and set policy recommendations.

The CCC recommend that the UK set a Sixth Carbon Budget to put the country on a path to reach net zero by 2050. The budget would achieve well over half the required reduction over the next 15 years, and is coupled by a series of cross-sector policy recommendations.

The key recommendations for the housing sector include:

EPC band C to be achieved by 2028 for private and social rented homes. This would bring forward the current EPC Band C ambition forward from 2030 to 2028.

A heat and buildings strategy that sets the direction for the next decade. The CCC are calling for a clear set of standards:

  • plans to rebalance policy costs while making low carbon more financially attractive
  • plans to introduce green building passports,
  • a role for area-based energy plans.

We expect the government to publish their strategy in early 2021.

Reforming EPC to ensure it drives energy efficiency measures. The CCC want to see improvements to the EPC framework, including ensuring it drives the energy efficiency measures needed.

Improving new build standards: in particular, ensuring that buildings are designed for a changing climate and delivering high levels of energy efficiency, alongside low carbon heat. This includes publishing a robust definition of the Future Homes Standard and legislating before 2023.

A green economic recovery and supply chain development. The CCC are calling for a stable long-term policy framework to support the growth of energy efficient measures.

By 2025 at the latest 100% of buildings built with high-levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heating (e.g. heat pumps or low-carbon heat networks). This includes ensuring all new gas boilers are hydrogen-ready.

The phasing out of all gas boilers in homes by 2033.

All new boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025 at the latest. BEIS and Ofgem to undertake a programme of research to identify priority candidate areas for hydrogen to inform development and network investments.

The NHF will continue to engage the government on the net zero agenda, including on the recommendations set-out by the CCC, and will keep members updated on a regular basis.

The full Carbon Budget and policy recommendations can be found here.

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