Prescott urged to back greener homes

18 May 2004
The government should offer tax breaks in the form of reduced stamp duty to encourage more environmentally friendly practices in the construction industry, according to a new report.

The Sustainable Buildings Task Group also calls for a new sustainability code to be drawn up.

The report suggests that the code should be updated each year to take account of innovations in the industry and new research.

The group was co-chaired by Sir John Harman, chairman of the Environment Agency, and Victor Benjamin, deputy chairman of English Partnerships.

Launching the report, Sir John said: "We believe that the construction, development and house building industries have not yet subscribed to much of the sustainability agenda and have not been persuaded of the long-term benefits.

"The code for sustainable buildings would provide them with a level playing field for quality buildings."

Buildings, in their construction and over their lifetime, account for half of the country's emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the report, and tighter building regulations could cut energy and water consumption by 25 per cent.

The report has been presented to deputy prime minister, John Prescott.