Ruth Kelly launches the following admirable initiative today (reporting from the Guardian here). The builders will complain, perhaps understandably so, but then so did the car manufacturers when governments began to regulate car safety and other aspects of their production and design.
As cars became more and more complex and the regulatory framework began to add value to the final package, free market competition reduced, in real terms, the cost of buying a car.
On the back of green initiatives, it looks like this is what will happen to the housing industry. More technologically complex houses, more long-term investment in design and construction, greater opportunities for mass production – all this leading finally to lower prices for the end-user.
But, in the meantime, a shake-up in the building industry.
Or will the inescapable cost of land scupper any attempted solution to both the housing and environmental crises?