Timelines And Legislation

2005 – Kyoto Protocol highlighted the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UK was one of the original signatories.

2007 – In response to the requirements of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), the UK government introduced Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to England and Wales. They grade the efficiency a dwelling from A to G. At that time they were required for homes of four bedrooms or more when sold or rented, though this extended to all homes eventually.

2008 – The EPC requirement was extended to non-dwellings. An EPC must be produced on the sale, rent or construction of any building (other than a dwelling) with a floor area over 50m2.

2008 – The Climate Change Act introduces legally-binding emissions reduction targets, with the goal of an 85% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions against 1990 levels.

2008 - Climate Change Committee (CCC) established. An independent body to monitor and report on progress against Carbon Budgets. CCC publishes regular Reports to Parliament.

2015 – Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) England & Wales Regulations introduced. Domestic properties are required to achieve an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) of at least Band E. This requirement remains in place as of 2023.

2016 – The Paris Agreement highlights the dangers of global warming. Its main objective is to keep temperature rises below 2oC against pre-industrial levels. The UK is a signatory.

2018 – From April of this year, non-domestic (private rented property) Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) required a minimum of EPC Band E. Non-dwellings must have this before they can be leased to a new tenant or before an existing lease is extended.

2019 – UK target updated to Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050

2019 – SCOTLAND – introduced the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act . Scotland aims to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2045.

2020 – The government publishes a Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution which provides an overview of how it intends to deliver Net Zero across the UK economy – including the built environment. The Ten Point Plan includes policies including the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standards – both of which inform updates to Part L of the Building Regulations.

2020 – Government publishes its Energy White Paper outlining how the UK will transition to ‘clean energy’ by 2050

2021 - WALES – The Welsh Senedd passed several regulations with 2050 as the target date for Net Zero Wales. The regulations included ambitions to make homes more energy efficient and to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels for heating.

2021 - Government publishes Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener which examines how the UK will decarbonise its economy. In addition, the government produces its Heat and Buildings Strategy, which explains how the UK must ‘decarbonise heat in buildings’.

2022 – NORTHERN IRELAND The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) was introduced and sets a target of 100% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. There is an interim target of a 45% reduction by 2030.

2022 – Part L of the Building Regulations (2021) comes into force. Regulations for dwellings and non-dwellings include tighter carbon reduction targets.

2022 – SCOTLAND – From December 2022, updated building regulations require emissions reductions of 32% in new homes and in new non-domestic buildings by 20% (against previous regulations). There is a focus on reducing the heating demand in buildings and on adopting low-carbon heating solutions such as heat networks.

2023 – From April 1st, the MEES rules for commercial properties extend to the continuation of leases, not just new or extended leases. The minimum EPC requirement remains Band E. However, the government is proposing higher targets (see below).

2023 – WALES – The Welsh government published a draft Heat Strategy for Wales which focuses on reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heating and improving the heat performance of buildings in Wales.

2027 – Proposed target for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) - rises to EPC rating of Band C for commercial buildings. The current (2023) minimum is Band E

2028 – Government targets 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028

2030 – Proposed deadline for MEES requirements of a minimum EPC of Band B for commercial buildings.

2035 – The deadline for a 78% reduction in GHG emissions

2045 – Scotland’s target date for achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions

2050 – Net Zero target date for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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Page last updated on 3 October 2023