Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change
The ‘Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021 - ‘Creating beautiful homes & places’ will be published today. It will set a bold new standard for new affordable homes funded by Welsh Government. The standard promotes low carbon designs as well as moving away from fossil fuels for domestic heating and hot water systems. The standards for new and refurbished housing will come into force from 1 October 2021.
WDQR2021 as it is known, sets new quality requirements for social housing centred on flexibility, space and sustainability. It ensures social housing will lead the way in reducing carbon emissions, with private developers expected to build to the same low carbon requirements by 2025.
Beyond low carbon targets, the requirements also stipulate new properties to be ‘gigabit ready’, meaning fibre optic broadband or gigabit wireless technology is available, alongside a choice of internet service providers. Where this isn’t in place, infrastructure to enable future installation without disruption must be provided. These changes, along with a recognition of the need to consider space for home working, are in direct response to the pandemic, which saw much of the country needing to learn and work from home.
The new standards also favour good design and generous space to ensure people live well within their homes.
This is not only intended to boost wellbeing and keep communities together, but to respond to the changing needs of residents, for example ample floor space to ensure adaptations for older and disabled people can be facilitated.
Modern methods of construction, such as the use of timber and factory-built homes are also championed in the new guidelines.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.