Energy efficiency bill clears Commons

A backbench Bill allowing councils to impose higher energy efficiency standards on new homes and offices has cleared the Commons and stands a good chance of becoming law.

Tory former minister Michael Fallon's Planning and Energy Bill was given an unopposed third reading and now goes to the Lords.

The measure, which has cross-party support, allows councils in England and Wales to require that a "proportion of energy" used in developments should come from renewable sources. It also allows them to set higher energy efficiency standards than current rules require.

The move comes after a pioneering initiative by the London Borough of Merton requiring that at least 10 per cent of the energy needed for new housing developments should come from renewable or low-carbon sources.

Junior communities and local government minister Parmjit Dhanda said ministers were not initially convinced the Bill was necessary.

But after amendment in committee it had been made a "workable piece of legislation", which fitted into wider initiatives to combat climate change.

Mr Fallon (Sevenoaks) said the Bill "enfranchises local authorities" to press ahead with measures to tackle climate change.

"It means that those who want to move faster than the Government originally intended can now do so with certainty, provided they do so on a basis consistent with Government policies."

Image: Tory former minister Michael Fallon

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