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Housing zones must embrace sustainability

Dave Hopkins, head of external affairs at Wood for Good comments on a new shortlist of brownfield areas across England, which could become the first flagship housing zones - benefiting from new powers to encourage development and a share of share a £200 million funding pot.

“While the prospect of quicker, easier housing development is to be welcomed, it’s concerning that the Chancellor made no reference to environmental sustainability when unveiling his shortlist for the new housing zones.

“Following the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes, there’s a real risk that sustainable construction will fall off the political agenda in the race to meet the UK’s housing shortage. A survey Wood for Good carried out last year with 100 MPs found that more than half said they believed the environmental sustainability of new homes was a low priority compared to the cost of construction.

“The fact is, modern methods of timber construction mean low cost and high environmental performance needn’t be mutually exclusive.

“Timber construction has the ability to deliver sustainable, affordable housing without compromise. Off-site engineering can slash build times by up to 14 weeks allowing for considerable cost-savings, while timber also requires a far lower energy input to produce and has some of the best insulating properties of any material. Not to mention the environmental benefits of wood’s natural carbon-storage abilities.

“Despite this, the majority of UK housing continues to be delivered through carbon intensive building methods. We’re calling on the Government to place the need to cut carbon emissions and help families with rising energy bills at the heart of UK housing policy and take a Fabric First approach to delivering sustainable new homes.”

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