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Unless climate-proof labelling is introduced in time, the buyers of the millions of new homes announced in this week’s Queens Speech will face unprecedented risk with their property investment according to climate change strategy experts Alexander Ballard Limited (ABL).

ABL says that house buyers need more guarantees that houses and other buildings have been adapted for climate impacts. They say their work with developers and public bodies suggests that few are taking the necessary steps to prepare for climate change. This means that homes being built today risk losing their value because they will not stand up to heavier rainfall, flooding, gale-force winds, excessive heat and other climate extremities forecast for coming decades.

Developers are not bound by building regulations or law to take these impacts into account so unsuspecting house buyers have no way of knowing whether their homes – and their house values – will stand up to the test of more extreme weather.

A climate proof label would indicate whether a building has sufficient drainage, natural ventilation, thermal mass, shading and other measures recommended by bodies such as the South East Climate Change Partnership, and the European Spatial Planning : Adaptation to Climate Events (ESPACE) Consortium, to both of whom ABL are consultants.

ABL Business Director, David Ballard, says,
“We’ve seen home energy certificates become law, now we need to help buyers tell which of these new homes will stay cool in searing summer heat waves and command a lower insurance premium because they’re proofed against flood damage.”

ABL’s call for climate-proof labelling comes in response to the government’s failure to accelerate urgently needed change in the construction sector and to threats by the insurance industry to refuse cover for maladapted buildings. The Climate Change Bill which was also featured in the Queen’s Speech fails to address the urgent need to adapt to climate change despite the Joint Committee’s calls for it to do so.

ABL Research Director, Sue Alexander, says,
“Both people and businesses need to prepare now for a rapidly changing climate and to use much lower levels of energy. Our work shows that these changes can be easy and cheap – provided that the opportunities are recognised and taken. These new homes provide a fantastic opportunity to build for the future. We can’t afford to miss it.”

Contact: ABL Directors, Sue Alexander or David Ballard 01793 329936/7 Mob: 07817 285491

Notes for Editors:

Alexander Ballard Ltd is a boutique consultancy which specialises in climate change strategy for business. ABL consultants have worked at board level in the construction and finance sectors

The ESPACE project aims to embed climate change adaptation at all levels of the spatial planning process.

The South East Climate Change Partnership is a partnership organisation with members from the public, private and voluntary sectors in the South East of England.

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