William Eichler 24 February 2022

Plans to decarbonise housing at risk due to lack of funding

Plans to decarbonise housing at risk due to lack of funding image
Image: DUO Studio/Shutterstock.com.

A lack of clear Government strategies and insufficient financial incentives are undermining progress on decarbonisation in the residential sector, a housing body has warned.

The UK’s housing stock – the oldest in Europe with one in five homes built over a century ago – accounts for 20% of the UK's total carbon emissions.

The Government has announced its intentions to make housing more energy efficient as part of the drive towards net zero. The aim is to ensure that by 2030 all fuel-poor homes in England will have a high energy efficiency rating (EPC band C or above).

However, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has warned that the Government has not put in place the right financial incentives.

In England, the government has allocated £4bn of funding for decarbonisation of housing from 2022-25, but this is much less than the £9.2bn promised in the Conservative election manifesto, the CIH said. It is also a fraction of the Government’s estimate that £35-65bn of investment is needed by 2035.

The Scottish government has allocated £1.8bn over five years against a total decarbonisation cost of £33bn (which includes non-domestic buildings). In Wales, where the total retrofit bill is estimated at £15bn, only small pilot schemes are so far being funded. The picture is similar in Northern Ireland, where achieving EPC C is estimated to cost £2.4bn.

The CIH has also argued that there is no clear strategy for achieving this target. One of the strategic problems identified by the housing body is the continued focus on changing heating systems without giving equal priority to improving the energy efficiency of the fabric.

John Perry, senior policy adviser at the CIH said: ‘The UK Government’s levelling-up agenda will fail if too little action is taken to ensure that the six million UK homes that are over a century old meet modern requirements. Significant extra funding and a clear timetable of action is needed to achieve decarbonisation of the residential sector whilst ensuring minimum disruption to residents and support for those in fuel poverty.’

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