February 6, 2008 1:47 PM

Cambridge MP David Howarth has enthusiastically welcomed a House of Commons move that could lead to better standards of energy efficiency in local developments.

MPs have voted for the Planning and Energy Bill, which would allow local councils to set energy efficiency rules stricter than those of national government.

The bill would overturn a Labour government decision to forbid the use by local councils of the "Cambridge Rule", under which councils require developers to increase the energy efficiency of new homes from renewable or low-energy sources.

The government, which is currently threatening to block the bill, ordered Labour MPs to abstain, hoping to kill the bill under obscure Commons procedures, but the move backfired.

"This is an important step forward", said David Howarth MP. "This bill would make a big difference to making new housing greener. The government must not stand in its way."


Notes to Editors

1. The Private Members Bill was debated in Parliament on January 25th.

2. Cambridge City Council was last year required to water down a planning policy requiring large developers to 'provide evidence of how they have minimized energy consumption, maximized energy efficiency and considered the feasibility of using CHP systems' as, to quote the government inspector, it was 'unreasonable to the extent that it imposes more onerous requirements than the Building Regulations'.

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