The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a “retrofit revolution”, announcing a package of measures to make London’s social housing more energy-efficient.
The mayor will work with London Councils and social housing providers to deliver a new £10 billion Innovation Partnership which aims to deliver large-scale low-carbon upgrades to the capital’s social housing stock.
The scheme, which will be open to social housing providers across the UK, will connect social landlords with builders through all stages of home retrofitting from planning to delivery.
Improvements that will be made to homes include installing better insulation, low-carbon heat, and clean power sources such as solar energy.
City Hall says the scheme will “dramatically increase” the pace of retrofitting projects in London, creating around over 150,000 “green” jobs over the next decade and encouraging around £5 billion to be spent in the capital.
The scheme is also expected to help social landlords cut carbon emissions, reduce heating costs for homes, and tackle the climate emergency.
Khan said: “Creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency are two of my priorities for London and that’s why I am delighted London is leading the way on a retrofit revolution. With the COP26 summit taking place later this year, it’s vital that we show how London is leading the way with our Green New Deal.
“A strong economic recovery from COVID-19 and a green recovery are not mutually exclusive. This transformative approach to retrofit will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes, and could play a vital role cutting energy bills and tackling fuel poverty. It will also support Londoners with the skills they need for jobs in the green economy, rebuilding our city post-COVID so that it’s cleaner, greener and fairer.”
According to City Hall, London’s homes and workplaces are responsible for 78% of the city’s carbon emissions, with “virtually all” of them requiring some level of retrofitting over the next decade to deliver the city’s climate targets and tackle fuel poverty.
London has the third highest level of fuel poverty in the country, with Barkingham and Dagenham having the highest level of fuel poverty of any English local authority.
As part of the new measures, London will also create a national Retrofit Centre of Excellence to help assist social housing providers gain access to funding for major retrofit projects.
The Centre, backed by £3.45 million of funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will build on London’s successful Retrofit Accelerator scheme.
It will help social landlords develop retrofit scale-up plans, improving their chances of making successful bids to the next round of the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
Social housing providers across England will be able to access free support from the new Centre starting this summer.
John Alker, director of policy and places at UK Green Building Council, said: “Improving the carbon performance of our buildings is critical if we are going to meet our net zero goals, and although an enormous challenge it also presents a tremendous opportunity.
“The successful delivery of local retrofit programmes can not only improve resident’s quality of life through upgrading the energy efficiency of their homes and tackling the danger of cold and damp homes, but it can also act as a catalyst for creating green jobs and upskilling the supply chain. If we are going to succeed, ambitious local leadership and a genuine partnership approach is essential.”
Image: Housing on Hillfield Park in Muswell Hill, north London. Credit: Steve Watts/Pixabay