The Government published its Energy White Paper on 14 December 2020. The document determines how the UK will increase deployment of green energy sources in order to help meet the 2050 Net Zero Carbon target. 

Research shows that buildings in the UK are the second-largest source of carbon emissions and that 90% of homes in England rely on fossil fuels for heating, cooking and hot water. The cost of decarbonising the UK’s social housing stock by 2050 is estimated to be over £100 billion, nearly £3.4 billion per annum. As the sector continues to scale-up retrofit pilot schemes, integration of low carbon technologies in newbuilds and a wide range of other measures to increase SAP ratings, it is clear that social landlords’ asset management and development teams must prioritise delivery of the Net Zero Carbon agenda within their business plans now.

The Energy White Paper maps out how the Government intends to move the UK towards widescale adoption of clean energy over the next 10 years and beyond, both for existing and new buildings. It contains issues of key significance for the social housing sector, including:

  • Introduction of a Future Homes Standard by 2025 to ensure all new buildings are ‘Zero Carbon Ready’;
  • Consultation to determine if new homes built after 2025 should not be connected to the gas grid;
  • As many existing homes to reach EPC Band C as minimum by 2030;
  • Review of the current Decent Homes Standard to support achievement of the 2030 EPC Band C target;
  • £110m funding support for further retrofit pilot schemes and projects over the next 2 years;
  • Fuel Poverty Strategy for England to be released in early 2021;
  • Extended financial support to low income households via ECO funding and the Warm Homes Discount Scheme; and
  • Consultation to commence in 2021 on alternative fuel sources, emerging technologies and Heat Networks.

We know that Social Housing landlords are already investing significant resources and finances into meeting Building Safety and Compliance requirements, newbuild targets and continued repairs and maintenance work. Delivery of the Net Zero Carbon agenda is a massive challenge, but also an opportunity for the sector. It is vital that landlords develop plans using accurate information and expert advice to ensure they make the best decisions for residents and their business. Through our network of UK offices, Rapleys provide clients with expert Asset Management consultancy services. If we can be assistance, please contact Martin Gladwin, Head of Housing Consultancy.

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