Ministers drop green audit for houses

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Ministers have "reneged" on a pledge that home buyers would get a green audit of properties they plan to buy, opposition MPs and environmental groups said yesterday.

Ministers have "reneged" on a pledge that home buyers would get a green audit of properties they plan to buy, opposition MPs and environmental groups said yesterday.

Ministers had promised to ensure that people buying a property would be able to see if it had double glazing, insulation and other energy-saving features, they said. Members of the Government, including Chris Mullin, an Environment minister, have supported motions calling for energy saving improvements in the past.

MPs are worried that millions of pounds are wasted a year on heating homes because of poorly fitted widows, bad insulation and drafty doors.

As the Home Buyers' Bill entered committee stage in the House of Commons, there was no requirement included for people selling their homes to provide information on energy efficiency.

It does not call for an energy-saving survey, or an estimate of how much it would cost to ensure that homes conserve as much heat as possible.

MPs believe that if the requirement is not written in to the Bill, home owners will fail to carry out the energy saving surveys. The omission contradicts earlier commitments to make energy efficiency a central part of proposed home-selling packs, they said.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments to ensure that green surveys are part of the Bill.

Martyn Williams of Friends of the Earth said: "The Government [is] backtracking on earlier commitments to provide energy saving advice for people buying new homes."

The Homes Bill is designed to reduce gazumping.

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