William Eichler 18 October 2022

Cities require urgent rethink, study says

Cities require urgent rethink, study says image
Image: Andy Shiels/Shutterstock.com.

Britain’s cities require urgent transformation, including more green spaces and public transport, if the country is to meet its 2050 net zero targets, a new study says.

E.ON and the UK Green Building Council have collaborated on a new initiative called Streets of the Future, which highlights the upgrades needed to combat the climate crisis, develop the post-COVID economy, and enhance the health of citizens.

The Streets of the Future insight outlines a range of opportunities for communities, including upgrades to old buildings and smart technology, which can help people to use less energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

The initiative also proposes rewilding, new green spaces for pedestrians, and wider roles for public transport.

Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: ‘Cities consume almost four-fifths of the world’s energy and emit more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions2, so it’s vital that they lead the way in transforming how they are heated and cooled, how transport is managed, and how they support people’s lives. We must create communities that reduce our impact on the planet while being inclusive, safe and equipped to offer every citizen access to a good quality of life.

‘The decade ahead is crucial. We need to use it to take action for climate which means fundamentally rethinking our urban areas: to decarbonise and to clear the air in our streets, and also to build communities able to adapt to a changing climate and help mitigate further irreversible changes.’

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive, UK Green Building Council, added: ‘Our buildings, streets and cities shape our lives in profound ways. But we urgently need to rethink how they are designed, constructed and maintained if we are to meet the needs of society. We’re all only too aware of the impact of rising energy prices and recent extreme weather conditions on individuals, households and businesses across the country. Our streets and cities must now urgently adapt and transform so that our communities and nature can thrive, as we work toward achieving our net zero 2050 target.

‘A critical component to transforming our streets is a national effort to improve the energy efficiency and reduce energy demand across the UK’s homes. We predict around 80,000 homes each month will need to be retrofitted between now and 2050 to reach net zero, with the majority (80%) of them needing to replace gas boilers with high efficiency heat pumps by 2040.’

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