Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Builders not blockers but carbon blind
It is not everyday that the Guardian publishes my letter. This is the theme of a Blog sent to rd Brick, rejected on Any Answers but accepted by the paper on second asking subject to a little editing. "Promising to be the "builders not the blockers" might be good electioneering but suggests that Labour is attempting to sidestep carbon budgets when making its policies (Labour plan to free up land to tackle housing crisis 30 May). If new housing is to be added to the existing surplus (currently about one million more dwellings than households) it must be right to focus on registered providers building houses on cheaper land, preferably at social rent. But the proposed 300,000 new dwellings a year would result in carbon emissions embodied in the houses and associated services equivalent to 113% of the carbon budget for the whole of the economy. The crisis is caused by the grossly unfair distribution of housing and, in particular, under-occupation is at unsustainable levels. About 50% of the space and fabric required to be insulated and heated is not meeting housing needs. As under-occupation is also a main cause in the closing of local schools (Primary schools in cities at risk as families move to cheaper areas 30 May) this is where Labour should be focusing its attention." It's nice to have an audience but Labour will take no notice.