The new target of reaching nett zero emissions by 2050 can only be a good step forward, even if many consider this is not enough, and we should be aiming closer to Finland with 2035!
We are all agreed on the need for dramatic and significant change to many of the things that we take for granted and the way that we live today. The immediate considerations that come to the forefront include choices with the cars that we drive; the food that we eat (and the packaging it comes in); the amount we fly and the fuel we use to generate cooling and heating in our homes.
From a property point of view, the development of new materials and new technology means that we can today create “living environments” that are incredibly efficient and require very little energy to maintain comfortable living space. In the past, the government has come up with several different incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy, including the early stab at solar and ground source heating and many other incentives. Some of these have been a success and others a dramatic failure. On occasion, a few have created more pollution than fossil alternatives. To recap the 2050 Zero emission target things need to change.
I see that the general “trend” for Buyers looking to move, from London or abroad, into the Cotswolds is to market towns, (or nearby villages). The demand for new build houses continues to grow at all price points; initially, this was due to concerns over running costs, but this tide is turning towards environmental expenses and reduction of emissions, rather than the hit on your pocket;
The rural dream is still alive
There will always be those who want to live in the countryside, in an old period property. One where the nearest neighbours are far enough away for you to be able to have an all-night party without upsetting anyone! To be able to light a bonfire without the village Chair sending a memo!
For those who still strive for the old Manor house with four acres and a vegetable garden that could potential take over your life, or the market town high street property built in 1721, with huge doorways and stone flagstones floors that provide a permanent trip hazard that will never be fixed, things are about to change!
The listing system which was introduced after the second world war to protect buildings, (and other things), that were considered to have features or a building (or part thereof) with architectural value and importance. Around towns such as Bath, Corsham, Malmesbury, Tetbury, Cirencester, Nailsworth, Painswick and the Stroud Valleys, there are many many listed properties across all grades, albeit the majority that is listed are grade II.
With the stamp being put on the drive to have zero emissions by 2050, the effective insulation of housing has to be top of the list of priorities for the government; without a high level of sufficient insulation, many of the new technologies that are continually coming to market, and always developing cannot be used in these older listed properties.
Windows have always been high on the list of costly things to fix in listed properties; the need for effective insulation means that all windows should be triple glazed; in the majority of listed building single glazing is the norm, with secondary glazing, (mostly introduced to dampen road noise in towns), occasionally to be found in some of these houses.
Time for Change
It is highly likely that with this new drive to make our living environments capable of using the best and most effective green technologies that the listing restrictions presently in place will need to be reviewed. This can only be positive as the costs involved for repairing or replacing windows, doors, walls or roofs is very significant in buildings that are graded. This has previously put off potential buyers who are not ready to jump through all the required hoops to meet the strict criteria that some of these listings entail. The opportunity to take on these beautiful old buildings and create an environment for a house fit for purpose in 2020 and in 2050 is becoming more and more achievable – which can only be a great thing for the property market in the Cotswolds.