The government has announced a new £160 million cash injection to enhance the energy efficiency of social housing, just as a first-of-its-kind Tenants’ Climate Jury gets underway in northern England.
The additional funding for the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is expected to fund energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation and heating systems for up to 38,000 of the UK’s worst energy-performing socially-rented homes.
In a statement, the government said the announcement was “the first wave of funding” out of a total £3.8 billion committed spend on domestic retrofit over a ten-year period, itself part of a wider £9 billion promise set out in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto to increase the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.
The scale of the challenge is significant. According to the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), which represents housing organisations in the north of England, more than four million homes across the north require upgrades if the government is to meet its commitment of ensuring every home achieves at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2035.
Tenants’ Climate Jury
The NHC recently launched a first-of-its-kind Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury to understand how tenants, social housing providers and others can work together to tackle climate change.
The Jury is made up of 30 social housing tenants from five housing associations, including two in Greater Manchester - Salix Homes and First Choice Homes Oldham. The members will meet ten times to hear from experts and take part in group discussions to develop recommendations for the social housing sector.
“With over 1 million social rented sector homes across the North requiring green upgrades, the scale of the challenge to transition to net zero is clear,” explained NHC’s chief executive, Tracy Harrison.
“Councils and housing associations are ready to rise to this challenge, but these are people’s homes first and foremost, and so we cannot succeed in doing this without talking with our tenants, understanding their concerns and motivations, and listening and acting upon their recommendations.”
‘Residents front and centre’
Anne-Marie Bancroft, customer engagement manager at Salix Homes, said: “As an organisation we’re committed to cutting our own carbon footprint and ensuring our tenants have access to high quality homes that are safe, warm and energy efficient.
“We’re incredibly proud to be part of the first ever Tenants’ Climate Jury, which will ensure residents are at the front and centre of any refurbishment and retrofitting programmes, which will affect their homes, and ultimately ensure the sustainability of our housing stock.”
The first meeting took place on 27 July and progress can be followed here.
Posted under General Interest and Construction on 26 August 2021