More costs and more delays will hamper house building, warns FMB

The FMB's Brian Berry

New biodiversity measures will result in more costs and more delays for the nation’s small and medium-sized (SME) housebuilders, worsening the housing crisis, warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Responding to today’s Spring Statement, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Today the Chancellor claimed to support housing delivery, but actions speak louder than words and the burdensome and poorly thought-through biodiversity targets for developers will bring yet more costs and more delays for builders. Just as the environment for SME housebuilders starts to improve, these measures could end up stalling our progress. The government wants to make developers, large and small, increase the biodiversity on their sites by a whopping 110% and for an average site of ten units, the additional cost could be in excess of £2,000. Needless to say, this would also create delays to projects by adding additional hurdles for builders to negotiate during the already bureaucratic planning process.”

Berry concluded: “Rather than hampering the building of new homes, if the government wants to be ‘more green’, it should focus instead on retrofitting the more than 24 million homes that have already been built and which account for around one fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. This will not only help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint but will also tackle the scourge of fuel poverty.”