Government announces £562m funding boost to make existing homes warmer and greener, reduce carbon emissions and support thousands of new jobs. The homes of 50,000 households will be upgraded with green improvements to help save householders up to £450 a year on energy bills.
The £562m government funding will enable over 200 local authorities across England and Scotland to fund a nationwide upgrade of the UK’s least energy-efficient and fuel-poor homes. This will help to transform over 50,000 low-income households and social housing properties and support over 8,000 energy sector jobs annually, including local plumbers, builders and tradespeople.
The schemes will include measures such as cavity wall, underfloor and loft insulation, and replacing gas boilers with low carbon alternatives like heat pumps where appropriate. It will also include installing solar panels on many social housing, helping residents on low-incomes create their own green energy to power their homes.
UK Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “We are ensuring households across the country enjoy warmer homes that are cheaper to heat and emit fewer emissions — all while creating new work for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople.
“This is an initial down payment on the UK Government’s plan to invest over £9bn into eradicating fuel poverty, improving the lives and homes of low-income households. This is yet another important step we are taking to eliminate our contribution to climate change and build back greener from the pandemic.”
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP commented: “The challenges involved in improving the energy efficiency of our homes and reducing carbon emissions are substantial. However, the investment being announced along with our Future Homes Standard will help ensure that existing and newly built homes will be fit for the future, better for the environment and affordable for households to heat using low carbon energy.”
Government priority area
Emissions from domestic properties currently account for around 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions and addressing this is a priority area for the Government. These green home projects will help cut over 70,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually — the equivalent of the total direct and indirect carbon footprint produced by around 9,000 UK households.
This is the latest step in the Government’s plan to eradicate fuel poverty, manage energy bills, and reduce carbon emissions from domestic buildings. This will help both low-income families and social housing tenants, with 39% of social housing believed to be below Energy Performance Certificate C in England.
As part of the scheme, funding will go to every English region and Scotland, including:
- Aberdeen City Council has been awarded £2.2m to retrofit 100 homes, creating a decarbonised neighbourhood, with tougher wall insulation, new air-source heat pumps and solar panels, to keep residents powered through green energy through the winter months.
- Argyll & Bute Council has been awarded £1.2m to retrofit 130 homes across 12 islands, supporting at least 38 local jobs. The council will work with award winning renewable energy provider OVO (S) Energy Solutions Ltd and Argyll Community Housing Association to deliver the project
- South Tyneside Council alone has been awarded £5.35m of to provide a county-wide upgrade of 1,570 properties within the towns of South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow and the villages of Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn.
- Leeds City Council has been awarded almost £10m to retrofit up to 600 homes across the city-region. The One project from the local council will work with Better Homes Yorkshire and ENGIE Regeneration to upgrade 190 of these homes in the Holt Park area of Leeds, helping residents save up to 70% on their energy costs and supporting at least 45 local jobs.
- Manchester City Council has been awarded £3.12m to upgrade 164 homes across the city, supporting at least 65 local green jobs in plumbing, construction and engineering. They will work with One Manchester and E.ON energy supplier to create the country’s first decarbonised neighbourhoods.
- Mansfield District Council in Nottinghamshire has been awarded just under £1m to retrofit 140 homes and has been able to guarantee 76 permanent job positions and create five new apprenticeship positions for young workers under 23 years old, all employees residing in or around Mansfield.
- Wychavon District Council has been awarded £5.8m to upgrade 236 rural and sheltered properties within the Wychavon District Council, Birmingham and Staffordshire areas. The local council will work with Rooftop Housing Group, Trent and Dove Housing, Citizen Housing Group and Trident Group to install energy-efficient solar and solar thermal panels and install external wall and loft insulation, supporting 100 local jobs.
- Portsmouth City County has been awarded £9.4m to upgrade 1,200 homes across the Hampshire county to be more energy efficient. The local council will help residents with a combined household income below £30,000 and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F or G to address fuel poverty and reduce the county’s carbon emissions
- Fenland District Council in Cambridgeshire has been awarded £4.5m to upgrade 160 social housing properties across the Cambridgeshire county, supporting 68 local green jobs in partnership with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Clarion Housing Group.
- Cornwall County Unitary Authority and Cornwall Council have been awarded a total of £2.5m to find innovative approaches to retrofit up to 300 homes across several rural clusters across the county, supporting at least 42 local jobs.
- £19.4m has been awarded to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in partnership with London School of Economics and Build Test Solutions to upgrade 535 low-income homes on the Lancaster West Estate. Following the Grenfell Tragedy, a commitment was made by all levels of government to work with the residents of Lancaster West Estate and transform it into a model carbon-neutral 21st Century estate. Over three different projects, the scheme will install wall insulation and other low-carbon energy sources and support 500 local jobs.
These schemes consist of the £500m Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Fund, a component of the Green Homes Grant, that will help households with an income of under £30,000 in England save hundreds of pounds each year by making them better insulated. A further £62m Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator, which will explore innovative ways to deliver deep retrofits of social housing, will help to bring down the cost so it can be scaled up and rolled out on homes across the UK in the years ahead.
LGA responds to green funding boost
Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association Housing Spokesperson, said: “It is good the Government is investing in boosting energy efficiency in social and council housing, which will save households money, combat fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions.
“Councils are leading the way tackling climate change and are committed to delivering green improvements, but have faced challenges with the competitive, short-term nature of grant funding, which requires councils to have sufficient staffing and capacity to apply.
“Providing long-term funding would better enable councils to help achieve our national net zero ambitions, supported by giving councils the flexibility to set energy efficiency standards above the current Building Regulation Standards.”
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