Face Up to the Challenge of Eco-Housing, Builders Are Told; Construction of Energy-Efficient Homes Could Provide Skilled Jobs and Help Wales Meet Tough Targets on Climate Change

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Face Up to the Challenge of Eco-Housing, Builders Are Told; Construction of Energy-Efficient Homes Could Provide Skilled Jobs and Help Wales Meet Tough Targets on Climate Change


A CONSERVATION organisation has called for more ecologically sound housing to be built in Wales.

WWF Cymru, the Welsh arm of the global WWF, says the country is lagging behind when it comes to eco-friendly housing.

They have produced a ranking of the UK's top 20 residential builders with the Berkeley Group and Crest Nicholson emerging as leaders.

Barratt Homes, falling in fifth position, and Redrow, coming in seventh, were the only builders in the top 10 with a strong presence in Wales.

Morgan Parry, Head of WWF Cymru: "This is a challenging time for the industry but we think improving the sustainability of all new homes will help."

Prices in Wales have dropped by 5.5% in the past month, and 10.7% in the past year.

Both drops were sharper than in any other part of the UK, leaving the average Welsh home worth pounds 126,530.

But rather than calling a halt to building, Mr Parry is advocating the construction of more sustainable homes.

"Apart from helping us meet our climate change targets we hope this will create new skilled jobs in the construction industry."

And, he believes, new homes will prove more costeffective in the long run.

"As the cost of energy increases, sustainable homes will become more attractive to new buyers," he said.

But the new model of development will need government support if it is to succeed, according to Mr Parry.

WWF Cymru has welcomed the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment for all new buildings in Wales to be zero carbon by 2011 but is urging the Government to provide further policy support and incentives to achieve this.

Anne Meikle, Head of Advocacy and Policy for WWF Cymru said: "The Government has recognised the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in Wales and there are good examples as highlighted in this new report of the industry stepping up to meet this challenge. …

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