Housing sector

Inside Housing – News – Welsh housing sector calls on new government to provide funding certainty for decarbonisation

Key figures in the Welsh housing sector have said the newly elected government must secure grant funding if the sector is to meet its target of reaching net zero by 2030.

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Figures from the Welsh housing sector said greater funding certainty was needed to meet ministers’ ambitious climate change targets #UKhousing

Inside the housing spoke to senior industry officials who said they were generally pleased that housing had been included in the new climate change department in the Welsh Government, but said more needed to be done if ministers were to achieve their ambitious goals of net zero.

“I think having housing at the center of a ministry dedicated to tackling climate change is really, really positive when it comes to one of the biggest challenges facing the sector, which is decarbonization. “said Rhea Stevens, head of policy and external affairs at Community Housing Cymru (CHC).

However, Ms Stevens said Welsh Labor’s manifesto was ‘fairly light on detail’ and the CHC hopes the government’s next program will include ‘a lot more detail on how Labor will deliver on that manifesto commitment to continue to improve existing houses and tackle the climate emergency”.

In 2019 the Welsh Government accepted a recommendation from the Better homes, a better Wales, a better world report which called for a 10-year program that would see the social housing sector decarbonized by 2030. However, the sector is awaiting more details on such a programme.

In 2020, the government launched a £9.5m Smart Renovation program to fund the refurbishment of up to 1,000 social housing units to pilot different decarbonisation approaches.

Clare Budden, Managing Director of ClwydAlyn, said: “On the climate change agenda the Welsh Government have set very high ambitions and they are looking at the social housing sector to lead the way and of course we we commit to it. We have an environmental strategy, we are all committed to it, but the costs associated with modernizing the existing fleet are really high. »

She added: “Factors in my own organization mean that without government support we cannot achieve this. In terms of what it’s going to cost us, we’re looking at around £40m to modernize our stock… We’re a traditional association so we have a lot of very old properties, some properties don’t have cavity walls, we’ have properties in conservation areas, listed properties and some of the physical challenges and costs of achieving the goals on those properties i.e. getting them to [Energy Performance Certificate] Note C, it’s going to be hard.

Research published by Inside the housing last year social landlords in the UK expect it to cost an average of £20,742 per property to upgrade their stock to net zero standards, but this cost can be very significant depending on the type of stock owned by the owners.

Matt Dicks, director of the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, said decarbonisation is likely to be high on Welsh housing associations’ agendas at the moment and there needs to be “more clarity on future funding”.

“The sector needs this commitment to long-term funding and to understand the direction of travel on this because there will be a lot of demands on the block grant, especially health and social care,” he said. -he adds.

Ian Thomas, chief executive of Trivallis, said the decision to include housing in a new climate change ministry was “absolutely on the money”.

“You have to set a goal somewhere, don’t you?” You have to draw a line in the sand. We’re in 2021 now, so it’s been nine years. I think setting a target for 2030 is not unrealistic. I think it will be very, very difficult, but what a goal like that does is it focuses us on what we need to do, he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has put the environment and climate change at the heart of the new Welsh Government as we work to build a stronger, greener and fairer Wales.

“We are testing the optimized renovation approach, where the changes made are based on a whole house energy survey unique to that house. This program is essential to combat climate change and reduce household energy costs. This will help people, including those with low incomes, reduce their fuel bills while keeping their homes warm.

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