Monday, June 27, 2022

Who is going to fight for green retrofitting?

As a subscriber to the housing blog  Red Brick (the red corner) I often find myself adding a comment questioning the reliance on new building to meet genuine housing needs.  I am tempted to write in similar terms to  Lichfields (in the blue corner) about a report prepared for the Land Promoters and Developers Federation (LPDF) - Banking on Brownfield - that is all about proving that this strategy would fail to meet Government new building targets and greenfield development is necessary.  The report can be found at

The report is aimed at the Government which is retreating from the 300,000 per year target and the tilted balance in favour of granting permission when 5 year land supply cannot be demonstrated in circumstances where an up to date local plan has been adopted. No mention by Lichfields of the carbon emitted in the construction phase or the claim from Kent University that 300,000 new houses per year would 'embody' the whole carbon budget for all sectors of the economy.

Instead, I am in the green corner concentrating my fire on Channel 4 and John Lewis and Partners who sponsor the 'Homes on 4' series including programmes hosted by Kevin McCloud, George Clarke and Sarah Beeny.  I find it hard to believe that John Lewis or his Partners can be happy with these programmes concentrating on increasing light, space and profits without any mention of energy efficiency. I found a Waitrose cashier/Partner who was as unhappy with the balance of these programmes as I am.

Anybody with clout in this area could join the fight (ie correspondence) to have energy refitting as the main theme for 'Homes on 4' programmes as 20million homes need to have a deep refit in the next ten years. Increasing their size, vaulting the ceilings and having large areas of glass will make this task more difficult.  A discussion about external wall insulation and heat pumps would be very informative but is not seen as sufficiently entertaining for TV audiences? I have also asked the editor of The Planner (the magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute) to include an article about residential sub-divisions, including custom-splitting, but am not holding my breath - Lichfields and their reports are considered to be more important.

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