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Homes 'must be energy efficient'

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A committee of MPs has said more needs to be done to help homeowners ensure their properties are more energy and water efficient in order to cope with climate change.

The Environmental Audit Committee said a programme to "retrofit" homes should be introduced.

The MPs also said planning for new housing developments should only be approved if they incorporate features designed to cope with climate change and rising temperatures in the UK.

And the committee urged greater focus on "green infrastructure" that could tackle flash flooding and hot summers.

Examples of this include more water storage, trees and open spaces.

A report by the committee of MPs warned efforts to adapt to a changing climate needed to be as much of a priority as cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The UK is already locked in to some rising temperatures, and is expected to experience wetter winters, drier summers and a higher likelihood of heatwaves, storms and flooding.

To maintain current levels of flood protection will require an increase in real terms spending on defences from around £600 million a year now to £1 billion in 2035.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "We must act now to protect people, property and prosperity and safeguard the natural environment."

© Press Association 2010