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News & opinion

20 JAN 2023

RICS responds to UK Net Zero Review

RICS has welcomed the publication of the Independent Review into Net Zero by Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP.

The review, which RICS responded to the call for evidence last year, was launched to evaluate how the UK net zero ambition can support economic, environmental and social development across the country.

The publication reaffirms the importance net zero has in not just combating climate change, but unlocking significant economic potential – highlighting that between today and 2030, the transition to net zero offers up to £1 trillion in opportunities for UK businesses. It underpins the important role the built environment has in facilitating our ability to meet net zero and proposes a series of recommendations that would have major implications for RICS members in undertaking their work. These include:

  • Legislating that all house sales must be EPC C or higher from 2033, with certain exceptions.
  • All non-domestic properties, where feasible, to be EPC B or higher by 2030, with all new non-domestic buildings reaching EPC B by 2025.
  • Future Homes Standard to be mandated by 2025 (England only).
  • Review the appropriateness of EPCs, as recently recommended by RICS, and introduce the Net Zero Performance Certificate.
  • An expansion of energy performance standards and regulation, underpinned by increased green lending, grants and advice services.

What gets measured gets done – and people deserve to understand the changes that are happening and being planned ­– Mission Zero, Independent Review into Net Zero.

The report highlights the importance of measuring progress towards net zero and references the need for a consistent approach for whole life carbon assessing to enable this. RICS have been working with the built environment industry and the public sector to develop the RICS Whole Life Carbon Assessment – the most comprehensive and consistent methodology that has been widely used by the sector and recently included in the UK Government Construction Playbook.

It also backs our calls for greater use of tax levers to encourage decarbonisation, including the reduction in VAT for RMI work that improves energy efficiency, and supports the repurposing of property and "infrastructure.

Underpinning the recommendations of the report is the importance of professionalism and standards in ensuring effective delivery, supported through the creation of a National Retrofit Hub as called for by the Construction Leadership Council RMI group that we sit on.  

RICS understands the importance of consumer advice in communicating the energy efficiency of a building, and in the future, it’s ability to reach net zero. For example, if regulations come in requiring property sales to achieve EPC C by 2033, this could have significant implications on valuations.

Sam Rees, Senior Public Affairs Officer at RICS commented: 

“Meeting net zero creates enormous opportunities for RICS members, as demonstrated in the report by the scale of the task ahead. As an organisation, we are investing resource in developing the standards, guidance and training that will be a critical feature of the net zero transition, such as retrofit assessments and pathways to zero tools. To quantify the scale, around 30 million properties will need a form of assessment and measurement to create a net zero UK.

“We are also working closely with government and industry to unlock net zero potential – advising on funding and training schemes, data collection and carbon measurement.  

“The report underpins the critical role RICS must have in meeting net zero. As a professional body and ambassador for the built environment, we have a duty to take leadership in not just advising but delivering on decarbonisation – helping to showcase RICS as a leader in tackling climate change.”