An All Party Parliamentary Group focused on sustainable housing has been set up to advise the government on achieving its ambitious housing policies.

It will be co-chaired by former housing ministers Nick Raynsford MP and David Curry MP.

Former Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Lembit Opik is treasurer to the group, while the National House-Building Council will be providing secretariat support.

Following its inaugural meeting last week, founders of the group outlined their intentions for the year which will include policy suggestions for:

  • - improving the environmental performance of existing housing stock; and
  • - implementing the policy for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016.

Key plans highlighted for consideration include:

  • ·- commissioning the publication of a “'beginner’s guide' to zero carbon;
  • -· holding an expert seminar meeting, open to all parliamentarians, to focus on sustainable housing within the present market;
  • - commission research on creating market and social conditions which will help ensure consumers respond positively to the sustainability agenda;
  • - conduct study tours for group members to see the best examples of sustainable housing sites in the UK and EU

Raynsford MP said: 'The Government’s ambition that all new homes must be zero carbon by 2016 is one of the most challenging policies that the housing industry has ever faced.

'I am delighted to be co-chairing this group to increase awareness among Parliamentarians of some of the challenges that lie ahead on our road to truly sustainable housing.'

Opik said: 'This group will draw attention, within parliament and outside, to the Green housing agenda. Working with the industry and ministers we intend to make a measurable difference to the quality and depth of debate on carbon reduction in the housing sector'