AROUND 2,000 homes across the West Midlands will get energy saving insulation, low carbon heating systems and other fuel reducing technology after the region secured more than £19million of government funding.
The money, which follows a successful bid co-ordinated by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) into the government’s Sustainable Warmth Competition, comes as the region seeks to ramp up action to tackle climate change, reduce fuel poverty and support its ambition to be net zero within the next 20 years.
Nearly £3million of the funding will go to the WMCA for the new Net Zero Neighbourhoods programme announced by the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street at last month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
The rest of the funding will go to the region’s seven councils and will be used to retrofit homes owned by low income families, although some social housing may also be included.
The chosen home will be assessed to make sure the most carbon emission busting and energy-saving measures are used, which could include external cladding and the installation of new energy sources such as solar panels.
Mr Street said: “We know retrofitting old and poorly insulated homes is critical to tackling the climate emergency, which is why we have launched ambitious plans to retrofit nearly 300,000 homes by 2026.
“Not only will our plan help cut domestic energy use – which makes up more than a third of total carbon emissions across the West Midlands – but it will also help tackle fuel poverty, cutting bills for those who need it most.”
The success of the bid builds on a previous collaboration between the WMCA and local authorities which has already secured £35million for the retrofit of homes across the West Midlands.
Councillor Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment, energy and HS2 and leader of Solihull Council, said: “Achieving net zero by 2041 is a bold and ambitious target for the region but it also the right one – both for our planet and the people of the West Midlands.
“There are two key things we need to do at a domestic level – switch to clean, electric transport and make our homes much more energy efficient.
“Nearly 40 per cent of the region’s carbon emissions come from heating and powering our homes so we need to ramp up the installation of new retrofit technology.
“This funding from government is encouraging but it should only be seen as the start of what will be needed to drive a much wider transition towards more environmentally friendly housing that can both cut carbon and tackle fuel poverty.”