Housing: Standards

(asked on 27th November 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities:

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his Department's Written Statement entitled Planning Update, published on 25 March 2015, UIN HCWS488, whether it remains his Department's policy that local planning authorities should not set in their emerging Local Plans any additional technical standards or requirements relating to the construction, internal layout or performance of new dwellings.

Answered by
Lee Rowley Portrait
Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
This question was answered on 30th November 2023

Under Building Regulations, requirements for water efficiency in new dwellings set maximum consumption rates of 125 litres per person per day. A more stringent optional technical standard for new dwellings sets a maximum consumption of 110 litres per person per day, which can be set out in local plans as a policy expectation (and secured by planning condition) where there is evidence this is needed. Data on the number of authorities which have utilised the provision allowing 110 litres per person per day for new homes in water-stressed areas is not held centrally. A variation, allowing the lower ceiling of 110l/p/d to be used, could be proposed by a Local Planning Authority as part of its local plan, which would then be tested during an Inspector’s examination of local plans. Local authorities can prosecute and fine a builder, installer and contractor for non-adherence to Building Regulations, at the point of delivery, including by removing the work or transferring it to the local authority.

The Government is aware of issues relating to the water efficiency standards required of new developments and the challenges posed to developers and local planning authorities. The Government has committed to a legally binding water demand target to reduce demand by 20% by 2038. Defra wrote to local authorities last year to encourage them to implement the optional technical standard of 110 litres per person per day and published ‘water positive’ guidance for developers that supports tighter efficiency. We are working with Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency to deliver commitments in the Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 which include reviewing water efficiency, water reuse and drainage standards set out in Building Regulations and which will facilitate future housing delivery. We will consider a new standard for new homes in England of 105 litres per person per day and 100 litres per person per day where there is a clear local need, such as in areas of serious water stress.

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