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30/04/2021

Deal required for net-zero homes, says report

Words: Laura Edgar
Green homes / iStock-1048838798

The government has been urged to commit to making every social home in the UK as energy-efficient as possible by 2030.

The Covid Recovery Commission says this should be part of a national deal for net-zero homes – a 15-year pathway to the decarbonisation of the housing stock.

The deal should also comprise a ‘green homes bond’ – a social impact bond to provide the upfront funding for retrofit of buildings in return for a long-term share in savings made through cheaper energy bills.

A national deal for net-zero homes is one of a number of policy recommendations in the commission's final report, Ambition 2030: A Partnership for Growth, which sets out a National Prosperity Plan. This seeks to help create globally competitive industries in every part of the UK, as well as deliver on the government’s net-zero commitments and reduce the economic and social inequalities that have widened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive of the RTPI, Victoria Hills, an advisory group member of the commission, said: “I warmly welcome proposals for a national deal for net-zero homes which closely align with the RTPI’s climate action work. We have long called for all new homes to be carbon-neutral and for a national retrofit strategy to ensure existing housing stock is decarbonised.

“I was delighted to be an advisory group member over the last year which enabled me to ensure the role of planning was integrated into these proposals. However, I will once again repeat our calls for local authority planning departments to be adequately resourced to enable them to deliver these bold ambitions.”

The report also proposes the introduction of a national prosperity scorecard to measure ‘levelling up’ against a set of social as well as economic indicators, including employment and benefit dependency rates as well as health and educational outcomes. Local leaders would be tasked with developing their own local prosperity plans to help to drive growth in every part of the UK.

John Allan, chair of the Covid Recovery Commission, said: “A national prosperity scorecard will be key to evaluating the success or failure of local plans to level up communities. By looking beyond purely economic measures, it could also act as a vital warning light for local communities. Measures on the scorecard should include issues which are important to families such as mental and physical health, community resilience and transport connectivity. They should be set by central government, but then it should be up to local leaders to drive local action.”

For the report, which has been authored by WPI Economics, the commission consulted more than 100 public policy specialists, academics, business groups, representatives from the devolved nations and the eight combined mayoral authorities.

Read Ambition 2030: A Partnership for Growth on the Covid Recovery Commission website.

Image credit | iStock

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