The Heat Pump Association (HPA) has welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Summer Statement, which looks set to build on promises that the UK will continue to invest in green technology in an effort to reduce greenhouse emissions in social housing and the public sector. However, the HPA believes the UK is still at risk of falling short if some crucial details are not clarified.
On July 8, the Chancellor delivered his Summer Statement setting out a package of measures to support the economy as the UK seeks to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Mr Sunak emphasised the importance of improving the energy efficiency of homes and reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A £2 billion Green Homes Grant will be introduced to help homeowners and landlords make their homes more efficient. Vouchers offered will cover at least two-thirds of the cost, up to £5,000 per household. For the worst off, the scheme will cover the full cost of energy efficiency measures up to £10,000 per household.
The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, a £50 million pilot scheme, is aimed at helping social landlords improve the least energy-efficient social rented properties to help create warmer homes and lower annual energy bills for some of the lowest income households.
Graham Wright, Chairman of the HPA, says, “There is a lot of detail to iron out here, however, it appears there is something for landlords, homeowners and those who campaign on behalf of low-income households. Although the amount of money is smaller than that promised for Home Upgrade Grants in the manifesto, it is being brought forward and should be spent sooner with a bigger impact than the sector could have hoped for.”
In addition to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, a Clean Growth Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to halve greenhouse gas emissions from the public sector by 2032. To help achieve this and support economic recovery, the government will invest £1 billion over the next year in a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme that will offer grants to public sector bodies, including schools and hospitals, to fund both energy efficiency and low carbon heat upgrades.
In response Wright adds,“The amount of funding here is significant. With Local Authorities and other public bodies engaged in a race to declare a climate emergency in recent years, I would expect strong interest in funding that could be used to achieve these ambitions. It will be interesting to see how this funding could be combined, for example with Renewable Heat Incentive payments or the Heat Networks Investment Project.”