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Easy, cost neutral energy efficient housing plan can avert lawsuit

An ‘oven-ready’ roadmap to bring all British social housing addresses to Net Zero standards has been tabled, which could help Downing Street avoid another environmental court battle. 

According to UK 100 – a national network of local authority leaders – the current Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is ineffective and unfair. The scheme, which offers financial support to councils looking to modernise residential stock, sees authorities compete against one another in a bidding process. 

gray concrete building with glass windows

Instead, it would be no more expensive and far more comprehensive to base investment in each area on actual needs. UK100 claims adopting this policy would see 550,000 properties upgraded by 2028, saving tenants an average of £1,500 off their energy bills once complete. The work involved could also create around 40,000 new jobs. 

Read the full plan here

Going forward, after that time, a commitment of £16b on the government’s behalf would allow every remaining social housing unit in the country to meet Net Zero standard by 2050. This would create up to 80,000 long-term jobs in the green economy. Putting things into perspective, the existing government approach has allocated £3.8bn to be spent over a ten year period, with no guarantee funding will reach every authority in the country and no specific long-term plan after that time. 

Criticism has long-been levelled against UK policymakers for failing to take  seriously the need to insulate and improve energy efficiency in residential properties. Housing stock is considered among the least efficient in Europe. Most recently, Greenpeace has threatened to take the Government to court over its negligent and weak upgrade policy, leading to some of the most financially vulnerable being forced to pay unnecessary high bills. Cost to the environment is also much higher than it needs to be. 

Brits are amidst a bleak winter. Millions are facing fuel poverty. And they are understandably terrified about what the future holds when prices rise again in April,’ said Jason Executive, UK100’s Interim Chief Executive. ‘In that context, it is easy to understand the rationale for the Greenpeace lawsuit. But the Government can avoid a costly legal battle and raise hundreds of thousands of families out of fuel poverty by urgently adopting UK100’s oven-ready plan for an energy efficiency drive to alleviate pressure on the most vulnerable – and it won’t cost the earth.’

Image: Ben Allan

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