Chamber call for social housing improvements to help reduce carbon footprint

Author - Jasmin Brown

Date published:

North East England Chamber of Commerce is urging Government to use social housing modernisation as an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and also as a training opportunity for people. 

In a letter to Government, Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “Retrofitting is a key opportunity for the North East.  We urge Government to work with councils and housing associations in order to reach their targets on decarbonising housing. There is also an urgent need for more public education in order to increase confidence in low carbon alternatives to gas boilers.” 

Chamber member Thirteen Housing Group’s Executive Director of Business Growth, Chris Smith, said: “We fully support the Chamber’s approach.  As one of the largest housing associations in the North East, we are acutely aware of the enormity of the task in hand and the gaps in the current market that need to be addressed to enable us to achieve our decarbonisation targets.  

“Winning our customers’ hearts and minds is critical, so they are better equipped to understand new technologies and embrace changes that will ultimately see a shift change to help deliver this future vision.” 

Retrofitting and the decarbonisation of housing is a key part of the Government’s net-zero strategy. The UK has a target to decarbonise 25 million homes by 2050, which works out at 833 thousand homes a year.  

James Ramsbotham said: “The drive towards Net Zero presents an opportunity for jobs and reskilling as part of the North East’s recovery from Covid. However, we need the Government to help to educate people on retrofitting in order to increase public awareness and confidence in new heating technology. Government backed incentives around retrofitting and energy costs would also help to increase initial public demand. Without this education piece and people agreeing to have gas boilers replaced it will be impossible for the Government to reach its 2050 target.  

In the letter the Chamber writes that scrapping the green homes grant and constant changes in schemes will reduce public confidence and will disincentivise the wider supply chain. Making it easier for installers to qualify to take part in Government schemes will also be helpful in ensuring that people from industries like plumbing are able to easily retrain without a lengthy process.  

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