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 U-turn means more new homes need retrofitting says Cambridgeshire councillor

“Because of the Prime Minister’s backtracking, housebuilders cannot be held to higher standards or be encouraged to use alternatives to gas”.

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Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray has warned that “communities all across Huntingdonshire, from Yaxley to Eaton Socon and Kimbolton to Warboys, will continue to see new homes built with gas boilers that immediately need retrofitting”.

At the October meeting of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Davenport-Ray was questioned about local effects of the Prime Minister’s U-turn on gas boilers. Gas boilers were set to be banned from new-build homes from 2026. The Conservative government recently pushed this back to 2035.

She said: “Because of the Prime Minister’s backtracking, housebuilders cannot be held to higher standards or be encouraged to use alternatives to gas.

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“Almost 300k homes in Cambridgeshire must be retrofitted at speed to reach the government’s 2050 net carbon zero target. Meeting 2050 was tenuous at best. Now meeting that 2050 target is nearly impossible.

“With no rise in heat pump installations, there is also no training ground for our heating engineers of the future. The government’s U-turn on heating is a lose-lose scenario for both our residents and businesses.”

After the meeting, Cllr Davenport-Ray added: “Our residents are incredibly frustrated to see new homes popping up around them with gas boilers. I’m very proud of how motivated local people are to take climate action, so government delays like this are incredibly frustrating.”

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Earlier in the meeting she also received a question about the state of nature in Huntingdonshire. The Government has delayed the start date of stronger biodiversity requirements for planning applications.

“Across the UK, species have declined 19% since 1970. The government delay on this issue will directly affect the number of animal and plant species our children and grandchildren will encounter in the future.

So, this is quite reckless behaviour from the government. In fact, we currently seem to have no Government in Westminster. Instead, we have a campaigning political party making short-sighted U-turns.”

FACT FILE

  1. Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray represents St Neots East on Huntingdonshire District Council. She is a council cabinet member, with responsibility for climate and environmental issues. She is also Vice Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Environment & Sustainable Communities Committee.
  2. Calculations by Action on Energy Cambridgeshire
  3. Questions and answers to Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray can be viewed on the council’s YouTube channel. Full Council, 11 October 2023, beginning at 1:48

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