Some bodies in the property sector have responded with disappointment at the government’s energy white paper's lack of specifics.
The Royal Institute of British Architects president, Alan Jones, said that although he welcomed it, he was “disappointed to see it lacks the detail required”.
He said: “Consultations on a long-term regulatory framework and a performance-based rating scheme for non-domestic buildings are welcome – but it’s the outcome of these consultations and the subsequent policy changes that matter."
He added: “I’m pleased to see the proposals to decarbonise home heating system, but we must see a fabric first approach to retrofitting to ensure optimum value for money. A National Retrofit Strategy is urgently needed to fix our inefficient housing stock.”
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said she welcomed “the level of ambition set out” in the paper because it “provides a foundation for key decisions to be taken that are critical to the UK’s transition to net-zero carbon” and provided “further confidence to the private sector on the direction of travel”.
Hirigoyen also said the funding to help with energy bills in inefficient properties was welcome but “cannot be a substitute for measures to ensure that those properties are retrofitted to permanently guard those residents against runaway energy bills”.
She also welcomed the announcement that “all rented non-domestic buildings will be brought up to EPC Band B by 2030, which is strongly supported by the property sector”.
However, she said the sector was “playing a waiting game for much of the crucial detail relating to the built environment, including the Future Homes Standard and the long-anticipated buildings and heat strategy”.
In addition, the engineering construction industry skills body the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), wants more detail on the workforce requirements, specifically around transitioning skilled engineers from oil and gas into new green energy sectors.
Chris Claydon, ECITB chief executive, said: “A strong supply chain with a skilled workforce will be essential to delivering net zero. We now need to see more detail around the employment and training opportunities for the 220,000 workers required for the transition. Parts of industry are facing significant skills outflows over the next two years – notably, oil and gas, where a fifth of the workforce could exit the industry for good – and yet many of these workers have the skills and expertise needed.”