Gordon's green lies

Zero-carbon homes costing less than half a million pounds to buy will get stamp duty exemptions of up to £15,000 backdated to 1 October, says Gordon Brown. But this week environmental homes experts agreed that this is a worthless “gift” and no incentive to go green
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Environmental design consultant Nick Devlin told Homes & Property: “To comply, houses must generate all their own power.” Otherwise they must be directly connected to a renewable energy source — such as a windfarm. They are not even allowed to buy in “green” energy from the national grid. Water consumption cannot exceed 80 litres a day, and appliances cannot emit any carbon dioxide at all.

Only those living in low population areas with large estates and no neighbours objecting to wind turbines need apply, say some objectors. They ask: while you are at it, Gordon, how are you going to square this watertight, zero-carbon legislation with your housing minister Yvette Cooper when she comes to build your next idea — Eco-towns?

Sustainable construction consultant Chris Watts said: “There are some developers who really want to do the right thing. It makes the task impossible. Why should it matter where the energy is produced as long as it is green?”

For self-builders, the ban on buying “green” energy from the National Grid will be the kiss of death. Mr Devlin said: “The cost and complexity of generating enough for private consumption far outweighs the stamp duty relief.”

He added: “I, and many others, have spent years lecturing the construction industry on its need to embrace efficiencies and renewables. But central Government, through an ill-thought out piece of legislation, is just about to scupper the whole thing.”

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