Minister Announces Housing Measures

Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Housing and Regeneration, on 17th July 2013, announced the first phase of a package of measures that will support the housing industry and also deliver on his pledge to improve the quality and safety of houses in Wales.

26th September 2013

Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Housing and Regeneration, on 17th July 2013, announced the first phase of a package of measures that will support the housing industry and also deliver on his pledge to improve the quality and safety of houses in Wales.

Measures include the phased introduction of sprinklers in domestic properties and a revised target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for new homes in Wales.

Building Regulations

The Minister will introduce, through amendments to Part L, a requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% from 2010 levels. This is lower than the 40% originally consulted upon. This constitutes a balanced approach – improving the emissions position without undermining the objective to build. It provides regulatory backing for reductions which are currently sought through planning guidance. This will support more consistent delivery across the housing market, whilst having a close to cost neutral affect on building costs.

This is an interim step towards meeting our legal obligations for all new buildings to be built to zero carbon (and nearly zero energy) set out in EU law by 2021.

Domestic Fire Safety

From April 2014, the regulations will apply to high risk properties such as care homes, new and converted student halls of residence, boarding houses and certain hostels and from January 2016 to all new and converted houses and flats. This phasing will allow the housebuilding industry to gain experience and skills, and gives the sector the opportunity to innovate and reduce the costs of installing sprinklers. The approach will continue to set Wales apart as a leader in promoting fire safety.

Mortgage Guarantee and Shared Equity

Welsh Government have developed a NewBuy Cymru mortgage guarantee scheme, this relies on a tri-partite relationship between Government, builders and lenders and Welsh Government are seeking to secure the engagement of all parties in a viable scheme. The need for the UK Government to finalise the design of their Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee scheme have meant that lenders are unable, at this time to commit to NewBuy Cymru.

Site Waste Management Plans

Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) must meet the needs of businesses, as well as deliver the wider waste agenda. In taking forward SWMPs, Welsh Government will look at the cumulative impact of the different regulations so that any burdens on industry are kept to a minimum.

Planning

As part of the Minister’s “back to planning basics” agenda, the new Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendments) (Wales) Order 2013 reduces the need for householders to secure planning permission for certain developments, encouraging activity which secures jobs. Subject to approval by the National Assembly, the new regulations will come into force at the end of September.

To view the written statement online please visit the Welsh Government website.