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Agenda item

Councillor Moore: Great Homes Upgrade

This council believes that a socially just and carbon-neutral recovery from the pandemic is not only possible but imperative if we are to meet the vision set out in our Climate Change Strategy 2021. However, up to now much of national Government’s proposed actions are little more than rhetoric. We really need to turn rhetoric into action.


Melting ice caps and forest fires can often seem like someone else’s crisis when many are taking effect so far from our homes. But crises closer to home affecting thousands of local families cannot be separated from those further afield.


Across the UK there are more than 24 million homes leaking heat, not just wasting the Earth’s precious resources and creating greenhouse gas emissions but also leaving many residents in cold, damp homes and in fuel poverty. There is no route to decarbonising the economy without retrofitting these homes. Doing so would not only help to protect our planet, improve housing and lead to cheaper energy bills but it would also create hundreds of thousands of good quality jobs across the whole country.


This council notes that;


·  The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was here in Cambridge, in July 2019 and we know that we are already facing a serious water shortage.

·  Cambridge has approximately 51,240 homes which need to be retrofitted.

·  It is estimated that the average investment needed to fully decarbonise each home in the UK is a minimum of £50k.

·  Therefore, to decarbonise all homes in Cambridge would cost an estimated £2.562 billion.

·  To retrofit all homes in Cambridge by this council’s own Net Zero Carbon vision of 2030 would require 6,405 homes being completed each year.

·  To retrofit all homes in Cambridge by the government’s Net Zero Carbon target of 2050 would require 1,830 homes being completed each year.

·  We have commissioned two high-level retrofit studies to identify what energy efficiency and renewable energy measures would need to be installed for different property archetypes in Cambridge to reach net zero carbon emissions and to provide more accurate costings for retrofitting both council and private homes.

·  Over the period of the Council’s previous climate change strategies, we have invested £4.3 million in energy efficiency improvements to Council homes, focussing on bringing the lowest rated properties up to an EPC rating of C.

·  From 2020/21 to 2022/23, we have committed to investing a further £2.5 million to improve the energy efficiency of some of the remaining Council homes with EPC ratings of D to G, with the aim of bringing these up to a C rating or above where feasible.

·  In February 2021 the Council was successful in its consortium bid with other Cambridgeshire local authorities to the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme and was awarded just over £2m to retrofit social and private housing.

·  As part of a Cambridgeshire local authority consortium, the council has recently submitted a further £5.5m bid into the Sustainable Warmth Scheme, which is scheduled to be implemented between January 2022 and March 2023 if successful.

·  The latest fuel poverty data for 2019 states 14.9% of Cambridge residents are experiencing fuel poverty. Energy efficiency also helps to reduce the impact of increasing energy prices and volatile energy markets.

·  Cambridge City Council is currently working with PECT with the Warm Homes scheme to provide support to those experiencing fuel poverty.

·  The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulation for the private rented sector restricts poor energy performing properties being available to rent. Cambridge City Council is implementing this regulation to improve the energy efficiency of the Cambridge rental sector.

·  We have established a working group to plan how we will retrofit our own council housing stock and how best we can support private homeowners and landlords to retrofit theirs.

·  Our project for Building Control to give homeowners energy saving advice using thermal imaging will launch at the end of this year.



The Great Homes Upgrade calls on the government to offer long term support to local authorities so we can help improve our residents' lives and homes, create thousands of high-quality jobs and decarbonise our housing stock in the face of climate change. 


This council commits to;


·  Join the “Great Homes Upgrade” campaign and for the leader to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sec of State DLUHC asking for an additional £11.7bn for retrofitting over the next three years as part of the government’s spending review in 2021.

·  Widen the scope of our working group to include working with housing associations, private landlords and owner occupiers to help access investment and to build the skills and expertise necessary to reach our Climate Change Strategy aspirations. 

·  Work with local partners, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (who lead on skills strategy), the Greater Cambridge Partnership, local councils, businesses and education providers to create the skilled workforce that we need.

·  Share best practice and stories of retrofit success with the campaign.

·  Write to neighbouring Local Authorities asking them to join the campaign.

·  Sign and circulate the Great Homes Upgrade petition.


This motion was withdrawn under Council Procedure Rule 27.