Local leaders and mayors have called on the UK government to enable ambitious local action towards net zero as part of the economic recovery, post Covid-19.
On 23 September, UK100 published a declaration of action to the UK government, stressing the need for a recovery package that creates resilience in communities and reduces carbon emissions. Alongside calls for a Net Zero Development Bank and accelerating the transition to low and zero emission travel, government was told to ensure that the nation’s homes and buildings are retrofitted to be energy efficient.
UK100 set out how retrofitting existing buildings in the UK potentially represents the most important infrastructure challenge for reaching net zero. It calls for investment at scale, alongside planning. District heating networks need to be rolled out, together with heat pumps, off-grid gas homes and hydrogen technology. It added significant investment will be needed to retrofit housing for low carbon heating in the next five years, as it represents 15% of the UK’s emissions through using oil and gas for heating and hot water.
It recommended the design and delivery, with local government, of a long-term, government-led plan to decarbonise buildings and heat. This should set out actions and investment needed to enable all existing homes and buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050 at the latest. Such a plan should also “at least” meet the Conservative manifesto pledge of £9bn investment to deliver net zero in the country’s homes and buildings and seek to crowd in further private investment to meet this goal.