Warmer, greener and cheaper social homes are on the way for tens of thousands of people living in social housing in England.
ens of thousands of people across England are set to benefit from warmer, greener social homes, with social housing providers given the chance to bid for government funding to make major improvements to their stock.
Local authorities and housing associations across England will have the chance to secure a share in a significant £160 million cash injection through the government's Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, set to enhance the country's energy efficiency of socially rented homes.
In total, through this first wave of funding, up to 38,000 of the UK's worst energy-performing social housing properties - with energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings of D or below - will have the chance to receive vital energy efficiency upgrades, including installation of insulation and more energy efficient doors, windows and heating systems.
This investment will help tenants save around £170 per year on energy bills, while making their homes warmer and reducing carbon emissions.
Today's is the first wave of funding out of a total £3.8 billion to be spent over a 10-year period - with the aim of improving homes across the country to be cheaper to run, more energy efficient and fit for the future.
And with homes accounting for 15% of the UK's carbon emissions, the investment will also help towards eliminating the country's contribution to climate change by 2050.
Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, Lord Callanan, said:
Today's announcement is a vital step forward in eradicating UK fuel poverty and improving the lives and homes of low-income households, all while creating new work for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople who will be building homes fit for our greener future.
With a real appetite among councils and housing associations to make their homes cheaper to heat and warmer to live in, this investment is putting the power in the hands of the people who know their communities best, allowing the right decisions to be made for each home they manage while ensuring the very best for their tenants and the environment.
Taken together the funding will ensure that the government is achieving its aspiration to ensure as many homes as possible reach EPC Band C or above by 2035 in a way that is practical, cost effective, and affordable.
Mrs Vivienne Challice is an example of the tenant that social housing providers will be able to help through this scheme.
Mrs Challice, 79, has lived in a Clarion Housing Association property on the outskirts of Tonbridge for 49 years. Her home was one of the first to be upgraded thanks to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator and the work is now complete, with Clarion estimating that she will save more than £500 on her energy bills each year.
Mrs Vivienne Challice said:
Whilst work was being completed, I was visited every day by the resident liaison officer to check in, and the team on site have been brilliant. They have explained what was happening and how long it would take, and I appreciate how much work has been done to my home.
The weather hasn't been cold since the work was completed, and even on hot days, I noticed that my home was comfortably cool unlike before, which was great.
Councillor Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council's Cabinet member for Housing, said:
We are extremely proud to be playing a part in this fantastic project, working alongside our partners Clarion and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council to help improve the energy efficiency of social homes and to pilot new and innovative ways of working.
It's really exciting that the first property in Fenland has now been completed and we can't wait to see work start on the other homes across the district. The retrofit measures, including solar panels and insulation, will cut carbon emissions and give residents more money in their pockets from cheaper energy bills. Local businesses are also considering how they can take advantage of this opportunity to diversify the sector and convert at scale to help meet the national targets for energy efficiency.
This comes as emissions from domestic properties currently account for around 20% of the UK's carbon output.
Today's announcement is the latest step in the government's plan to reduce emissions from social homes, a priority area for the government to help eradicate fuel poverty and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The government also plans to invest over £9 billion to increase the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals, while supporting 50,000 jobs by 2030 and installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028 - driving forward the Prime Minister's ambitious 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.