Shropshire could become a toxic cocktail of poorly built homes and increasing homeowners, says local businessman

A toxic cocktail of poorly built houses and a rapidly growing population - that is one Shropshire businessman’s assessment of the county in 20 years time.

Claus Best, who runs Smart Energy Services, based in Bayston Hill, has raised concerns about the loss of zero carbon homes and the impact a growing population will have on the county.

Mr Best said the government’s vote to scrap zero carbon homes coupled with estimations that the county’s population will rise to 40,000 in the next 23 years will mean Shropshire will struggle.

He said: “The issue is the downgrading of planned building standards, which are again slipping behind the time and expectations of the industry itself.

“Insulation standards in the UK have been behind lots of continental countries already anyway and will be sliding back even further now.
“With the new housing stock still being built to lower efficiency standards at least until 2020 this might well mean that the new housing stock will need to update its energy efficiency within the next 10 to 15 years after being built.

“And the new housing stock needed is substantial to meet estimated population figures so this could become a toxic cocktail with wide reaching implications for houses across Shropshire in the future.”

At the moment, the population of the county is estimated to be 483,451, with 171,044 living in Telford & Wrekin.

But figures released by the Office of National Statistics estimate the population of Shropshire will have grown to 523,327 by 2039, with 184,484 of these living in Telford & Wrekin.

It equates to a 7.9per cent growth in Telford over the next 23 years and an 8.5per cent growth across the rest of Shropshire.
Meanwhile, the government has narrowly passed a motion scrapping the need for zero carbon homes.
Despite being forced into a second debate and vote on the issue by House of Lords intervention, parliament succeeded in placing the Zero Carbon Homes scheme to the scrap heap with a majority of just four votes.

Mr Best, a specialist in improving the energy efficiency of homes and making them comfortable to live in, said the issue also has wider implications.

“The government had signed up to the CO2 reduction target of 80per cent energy used to heat properties by 2050 with a 1990 base line,” he added.
“The aim has been seen as difficult to achieve before the cancellation of the zero carbon homes due to the massive backlog of improvements to the older housing stock, which will be still in place by that time.
“With the new housing stock still being built to lower efficiency standards at least until 2020 this will increase difficulties to achieve the aim of reaching 80% reductions.”

Mr Best has worked across the UK and abroad and is qualified in coordinating retrofit work, improving efficiency of already existing homes.

He can offer a combination of advice and installation for a project which will start with an energy report and advising on the improvements which could be made.