Housebuilding and motor industries criticised over climate emission failures

Lord Deben is chairman of the Government's Committee on Climate Change

Lord Deben is chairman of the Government's Committee on Climate Change - Credit: Archant

The car and housebuilding industries “should be ashamed” of themselves for not stepping up to the mark on cutting carbon, according to the UK government’s official climate change advisor.

And Government failure to support cheap ways of cutting greenhouse gases, such as onshore wind, insulating homes and planting trees, will push up costs for consumers and the economy, the Committee on Climate Change said.

Rapid reductions in greenhouse gases in the power sector masked a “marked failure” to cut emissions from other areas, such as buildings, agriculture and transport, the committee’s annual progress report to Parliament said.

Committee chairman Lord Deben said ministers should introduce tougher targets for energy efficiency for new homes, because it was “ridiculous” housing was still being built that was not as efficient as it could be.

Lord Deben, who lives in Suffolk, criticised most construction firms, saying “the industry should be ashamed of itself, that it is still producing homes that are cheating people they sell to”.

He added: “If you don’t produce a properly insulated home you put a burden on the purchaser and the next purchaser for the rest of time in terms of their bills.”

Well insulated, low energy homes could be built for very little or no difference in cost to properties being built today, Lord Deben said.

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Government plans to end sales of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 are also not ambitious enough and the target needs to be moved much closer to 2030, he said.

Ministers need to make sure the motor car industry, “which does not have a track record for straightforwardness”, does not try to avoid new regulations so that cars become cleaner quickly, he said.

“And it will be necessary to ensure that the cleaner cars come forward more quickly instead of being held back while dirtier cars are sold by the industry,” he urged.

He said car manufacturers should also be ashamed of themselves, but acknowledged the motor industry had publicly said it wants to do the right thing.