Flawed Energy Efficiency Rules may leave Thousands of Rentable Properties Empty in Wales

03 March 2017

Flawed Energy Efficiency Rules may leave Thousands of Rentable Properties Empty in Wales

CLA Cymru has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM, warning that energy efficiency regulations from Westminster may compromise the Welsh Government in meeting its housing supply target.

 Rebecca Williams, Director CLA Cymru said, “Whilst housing, community development and planning are devolved to Wales, responsibility for building regulations and energy efficiency standards lie in Westminster. In our report The Retrofit-Up*, we conclude that up-to one third of rural homes may become unfit for letting owing to the Minimal Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), part of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regime. This may affect over 100,000 homes in England and Wales.”

 The Welsh Government has committed to supply a total of 20,000 houses within the course of the existing Assembly.

 “I have written to the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, responsible for Housing, to propose that we develop a Welsh Rural Housing Strategy. Environmental performance is important, but methodology proposed to measure this is not fit-for-purpose for traditional homes and continuation with the current EPC standards could lead to a position where these homes become technically unusable and have to be removed from the housing stock.”

 About 40 per cent of all private rented housing in the countryside is provided by CLA members. In December CLA Cymru revealed research which demonstrates that around £1.3 billion is invested into the rural economy by rural landowners. The same work indicates that around 31 per cent of these investors commit to residential property – over half of them indicated that their future investment target is residential property. However the same respondents explained that their vision is frustrated by regulatory and planning barriers.

 Rebecca Williams added, “We recognise that energy efficiency regulation is a Westminster Government responsibility, but we do call upon the Cabinet Secretary for Communities’ to exert pressure on the UK Government to resolve these issues. We must be bold in our policies, but also practical in their application. In many rural communities traditional-built houses ae the norm and they make up a significant percentage of the available housing stock. Many families would welcome these as homes and we must not allow ill-developed policies to lead to a situation in which these homes are removed from the market.

 Click here to read The Retrofit-Up - How Government energy policy is failing older houses across the British countryside