WWF lobbies for role in forming housing policy

Environmental charity WWF has ambitious plans to shape UK and international housing and planning policy over the next 10 years.

The charity is confident that its lobbying of the private sector and government will pay off at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next month when, it believes, the UK Government will announce a commitment to providing one million sustainable homes over the next decade.

"Twenty seven per cent of UK CO2 emissions come from the housing sector.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development sets global targets, but Britain also needs to show that it's getting its own house in order,

said WWF chief executive Robert Napier.

Sustainable houses typically cut energy use by 90 per cent through use of materials and natural light but at the moment less than one per cent of new homes meet these standards. WWF is confident that thanks to its lobbying this figure will rise to 50 per cent of all new-build and refurbished homes within 10 years.

Talks with more than 300 housing developers over the past six months have helped establish an ecological homes kitemark. Later this year WWF will promote this kitemark to consumers through a huge awareness campaign run in collaboration with DIY stores and possibly also mortgage lenders and utility companies.

WWF has provided seed funding to a pioneering sustainable village community of 82 houses in South London, the BedZed project, which went operational a few months ago. WWF is now working with architects and business partners in the UK and South Africa in order to twin this project with a similar scheme in South Africa.

WWF believes that a proportion of new houses going up under the major house building programme planned in the South East of England will now be built according to the sustainable standard it has campaigned for.

"Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's recent 15-year housing plan talked about the importance of 'sustainable communities'. Sustainable homes are an important part of sustainable communities,

said Paul King, WWF's head of business and consumption policy. "Government agency English Partnerships has already committed to the standard we're looking for.

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