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25 June 2008

F&P 13/07


All new homes in Northern Ireland should be zero carbon by 2016 says the Committee for Finance and Personnel.

In calling for this challenging target to be set, the Committee recommends that building regulations should be used to encourage the use of renewable energy technologies.

Launching the Committee’s Report on the Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill, Committee Chairperson, Mr Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, stated, “This Report could not come at a more appropriate time. The dramatic rise in fossil fuel costs, combined with the increased focus on climate change makes it imperative that we diversify energy sources as well as reduce energy consumption.

“One of the findings of the Report is that heating buildings represent 81% of non-transport energy consumption, with oil as our primary fuel. We consider that building regulations can playan important part in helping us to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy.”

As well as calling for carbon-free homes by 2016, the Committee has recommended that the Department regularly assess the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy systems in light of the ongoing increases in fossil fuel prices and keeps under review the option of using building regulations to require that a proportion of the energy needs of new builds is provided from renewables.


Notes for Editors

  1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister. Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
  2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
    • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
    • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
    • call for persons and papers;
    • initiate inquiries and make reports; and
    • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its minister.
  3. Committee Members:

Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)
Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Roy Beggs (UUP
Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)
Mervyn Storey (DUP)
Peter Weir (DUP)

  1. The Report contains over 20 key conclusions and recommendations which the Committee made following its consideration of the Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill. These recommendations focus on the topical issues of energy conservation, the use of renewable energy technologies, environmental protection and sustainable development. A copy of the report can be obtained from the Northern Ireland Assembly website:

Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website:

Media enquiries should be addressed to:
Debra Savage, Press Officer, Press Office, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX
Telephone 028 9052 1405
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