Over 50 companies, from small concerns to multinational organisations, have signed an open letter to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in the hope of influencing the decision to remove the ‘Merton Rule’ from planning regulations.
Last year, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)’s Housing Standards Review outlined plans to ‘amend or remove’ the Merton Rule and the letter has been written in protest against such a move.
The Merton Rule is part of the 2008 Planning Act and is the only building regulation in the UK that embraces renewable energy technology. Originally pioneered by the London Borough of Merton, the ‘Rule’ requires new developments to generate at least 10% of their energy needs from onsite renewable energy installations. The Merton Rule applies to all new builds including homes, schools, supermarkets, office blocks, leisure centres, libraries and other buildings.
According to the Solar Trade Association (STA), which has signed the letter, removing the Merton Rule will create a gap in renewable energy building regulations. The Merton rule is important to ensure that low carbon construction and renewable energy installation continues until the Zero Carbon Act comes into force in 2016.
Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Association, said: “Scrapping the Merton Rule would remove a vital bridge to the Zero Carbon standards promised for 2016.”
According to Zero Carbon Hub, the cost of a ‘zero carbon’ home has decreased by nearly 60% since 2011 and as Sowden commented: “Why wait any longer to future-proof our homes?”
(Source: Solar Power Portal)