The UK Government announced on Tuesday that from this week 50,000 homes will be upgraded using green improvements and money from a £562m fund to reduce carbon emissions and support thousands of green jobs across the UK.
The cash fund will enable more than 200 local authorities in England and Scotland to pay for a nationwide upgrade of the UK’s least energy efficient and fuel-poor homes. The work will help to transform the homes of more than 50,000 low-income households and social housing properties, as well as support around 8,000 green energy sector jobs annually, with work for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople.
The programmes will include the installation of cavity wall, underfloor and loft insulation, and the replacement of gas boilers with low carbon alternatives such as heat pumps where appropriate. They will also provide for the installation of solar panels on many properties, helping residents on low incomes to create their own green energy to power their homes.
Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Business and Energy Secretary, said the Government is ensuring households across the country will enjoy warmer homes that are cheaper to heat and create fewer emissions, while at the same time creating new work for local tradespeople. This is an initial down payment, he said, on the UK administration’s plan to invest over £9bn in eradicating fuel poverty and improving the homes and lives of low-income households.
He added this is one more important step the Government is taking to eliminate our contribution to climate change and ‘build back greener’ from the pandemic.
Plans to create decarbonised neighbourhoods
The RT Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Housing Minister, said the challenges involved in improving the energy efficiency of our homes and reducing carbon emissions should not be underestimated. Nevertheless, the investment announced together with the Future Homes Standard will help ensure that both existing and newly built homes will be fit for the future, kinder to the environment and affordable for households to heat using low carbon energy.
Emissions from domestic properties, a priority issue for the government, are currently responsible for approximately 25pc of the UK’s total carbon ouput. These green home improvement plans will help to remove more than 70,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year, which equates to the total direct and indirect carbon output produced by around 9,000 UK households.
This latest stage in the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from homes, reduce energy bills and eradicate fuel poverty will benefit both low-income families and social housing tenants, 39pc of whom are estimated to live in housing rated below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C in England.
For instance, Aberdeen City Council has been awarded £2.2m to retrofit 100 homes with robust wall insulation, new air-source heat pumps and solar panels, to create a decarbonised neighbourhood and provide residents with green energy during the winter months. Manchester City Council has been awarded £3.12m to upgrade 164 homes across the city, supporting a minimum of 65 local green jobs in plumbing, construction and engineering.
Money to come from Green Homes Grant
The schemes come courtesy of the £500m Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Fund, part of the Green Homes Grant that will save households with an income of less than £30,000 hundreds of pounds every year by making making their homes better insulated.
In addition, the £62m Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDFD) will investigate new methods of carrying out extensive retrofits of social housing and ways to reduce the cost so that the systems can be scaled up and rolled out on homes across the UK in future.
The Government announced a further £60m of funding for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) in the Autumn 2020 Spending Review which will be available in the financial year 2021-22.
The Local Authority Delivery scheme is focused on local authorities to ensure that the money is targeted at those who need it most, especially tenants in social housing and the private rental sector (PRS).