The built environment is a leading contributor to the UK’s emissions share. Lacklustre national policy efforts have contributed to this sector emitting roughly 40% of the UK’s total emissions with energy use in homes alone accounting for about 14%.

In 2019 the Committee on Climate Change highlighted that near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock was required to reach our previous emission reduction targets, meaning that without substantially increasing the energy efficiency and sustainability of the existing housing stock the commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 will be unachievable. However, the glaring opportunity to prevent new build housing from adding to the number of inefficient homes through the implementation of leading national building regulations has not materialised.

This report looks at the local authorities that have already implemented building regulations which surpass national requirements by using the powers granted in the Planning and Energy Act 2008. Through an freedom of information (FOI) request issued earlier in 2019, the STA has collected information on which local authorities have implemented higher building standards than those required under national regulations. The responses were then ranked by the STA to identify which could be considered ‘Leading’ in terms of their ambition, scope and integration of renewables.

The findings that over 50% of local authorities have already succeeded in implementing higher standards should encourage many more to follow suit and instil confidence at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as well as the devolved administrations undertaking building regulation reviews, that tighter building regulations, necessary to reduce the built environments contribution to the UK’s emission share, are achievable, prevalent and to many, old news.

A full database of local government planning policies that identifies which authorities go above and beyond national standards as well as more specific details identified from their Local Plans is available to STA members upon request.

Read the report


STA Local Authority database


UK Local Authority STA Rankings


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