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There’s a lot resting on the Spending Review when it comes to delivering net zero in housing

By 30/07/2021No Comments

I’m pleased to say that the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) own decarbonisation project is gathering pace. We are working with Savills to clarify both the cost and potential funding models for the work.

We are developing a ‘roadmap to net zero’ with our members and consultancy Shift Environment. This will explore what net zero means in the context of social housing and what possible trajectories there are to reaching net zero.

I hope that the roadmap, which we will launch this autumn, will give housing associations greater clarity and direction as we navigate addressing the challenges of net zero.

However, it is clear that this work won’t be possible without successive governments committing to a long-term view on how to decarbonise the country’s housing stock – which will take decades.

The upcoming comprehensive Spending Review later this year is a golden opportunity for the government to make a real statement of intent on net zero by delivering on the 2019 Conservative manifesto commitment of a £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).

While we’ve seen some welcome initial announcements about the SHDF for 2021/22 (in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) language this is known as Wave 1), a substantial announcement at the Spending Review about the future scale and scope of SHDF would be a real game-changer for the sector.

“Climate change is here, and the government and all businesses and sectors need to pull together to play their part to prevent emissions causing further damage”

If the government brings forward the promised £3.8bn SHDF between now and 2030, this would support the sector to bring as many homes as possible to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C through fabric-first measures. A 30% match fund from the sector to the SHDF would bring the funding into alignment with the Climate Change Committee’s own estimates for improving the energy efficiency of housing association homes.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, which was recently delayed. We hope this will answer a number of questions regarding any additional funding needed for greener energy sources and confirm whether the EPC C deadline for all social housing will be brought forward to 2028, as the Climate Change Committee has strongly argued for.

As a society we cannot afford any more inaction or delay. Climate change is here, and the government and all businesses and sectors need to pull together to play their part to prevent emissions causing further damage.

Housing may be an often overlooked contributor to climate change in the public eye. Despite that, housing associations are determined and ambitious when it comes to making homes greener and warmer for residents, and they are ready to play their part.

I’m looking forward to sharing the NHF’s roadmap and hope the sector and the NHF – working closely with government – can use the energy galvanized at the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November to turn these plans into a reality.

Kate Henderson, chief executive, National Housing Federation

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