6.6.1 Housing conditions are monitored every five years by the English House Condition Survey (EHCS), which classifies a 'decent home' as one that satisfies all of the following four criteria:
it meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing. At present this is the fitness standard
it is in a reasonable state of repair
it has reasonably modern facilities and services
it provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.
6.6.2 The latest survey results (2006) found that 3.8% of dwellings in the South West were “unfit”, slightly lower than the national figure of 4.2%.
Figure 6.6.1 Proportion of dwellings deemed to be "unfit"
6.6.3 Design and Environmental Impacts - Good housing conditions are essential for both health and decent standards of living. Energy efficient housing is crucial for enabling householders to reduce their impact on the use of natural resources and production of greenhouse gases. Higher environmental standards in the design of new housing will be a crucial contribution in the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, higher environmental standards in terms of thermal comfort and good use of natural lighting are likely to bring financial and health benefits. A study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1997 showed that poor quality housing and surrounding environmental conditions have negative impacts on health (CABE 2002, The value of good design).
6.6.4 In the South West (2010), the average SAP rating of private sector housing ranged from 37 in West Devon to 61 in Tewkesbury, compared to a national average of 53.9.
Figure 6.6.2 Energy efficiency of private sector dwelling stock in the South West as at 1st April 2010 (Districts/Former Districts and Unitary Authority areas)