As England grapples with drought, the importance of designing and embedding water efficiency into planning and levelling up policy for new and existing homes and communities is crystal clear. Unless we act, there simply isn't going to be enough water available for people, businesses and the environment. Plus with spiralling utility costs saving water is one way we can all reduce our water and energy bills.
Recognising the need for action, on 1st July 2021 the Government committed to developing a roadmap in 2022 for more water efficient buildings in England.
“In 2022 develop a roadmap towards greater water efficiency in new developments and retrofits, including the exploration of revised building regulations and how the development of new technologies can contribute to meeting these standards. We will ensure that the underlying legislation can, where appropriate, accommodate any potential future expansion of rainwater harvesting, water re-use and storage options.”
The government has indicated that the roadmap for England will build on the Future Homes Delivery Plan published in December 2021 by the cross-sector Future Homes Task Force. The work of the task force is now being taken forward by the Future Homes Hub who are consulting through to 2nd September on possible measures that can be included in the roadmap.
So what do we need to see in the Roadmap? Blueprint for Water member, Waterwise, wants to see an immediate change to Building Regulations so that all new homes are built to at least 100 litres per person per day standard rather than the unambitious 125 or 110 standards currently in place. Looking further ahead they are calling for the following five commitments in the Roadmap.
Five things we need to see in the Roadmap
The drought has brought into sharp focus the need for action to help ensure we are using water wisely. Building greater ambition on water saving into policy on planning and levelling up is one easy way that we can help people, businesses and the environment across England.
Nathan Richardson is Head of Policy and Strategy at Waterwise.
The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
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