29 March 2023
Thousands of households will see their energy bills and carbon emissions cut thanks to £34 million of Government funding secured by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to make homes more energy efficient.
The funding – matched by a further £35 million from registered social housing providers across the region - will treble the number of homes that can be retrofitted with energy saving technology and greener heating systems.
The work will be targeted at 3,000 social homes and properties owned by those on low incomes with an energy performance rating of D or below, supporting residents facing rising cost-of-living pressures and the region’s #WM2041 ambition to be net zero within the next 20 years.
The Government has recognised the WMCA’s expertise in delivering net zero schemes in the Deeper Devolution Deal announced last week by agreeing to hand the region control of a central pot of funding, meaning the region will no longer be required to competitively bid for money beyond this funding round.
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, visited Cape Hill in Smethwick where homes are currently being retrofitted thanks to Government funding previously secured by the WMCA.
He said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock is essential if we’re going to lower energy bills for local people and provide residents with warmer and better insulated homes.
“Whilst we’ve made a good start, the new Deeper Devolution Deal we’ve just negotiated with Government will enable us to go much further - opening up a more sustained flow of funding that will give us greater flexibility in planning and delivery as we build our supply chain, train up our retrofit workforce and establish the business models that will draw in the private finance that will help us really scale up our retrofit programme.
“Together we can harness the power of retrofit to tackle the climate emergency and lower bills for local people right across our region.”
The WMCA estimates that 1.2 million homes across the region will need to be retrofitted to achieve the #WM2041 target.
As part of its investment to deliver its net zero targets, the WMCA set up the ground-breaking SMART Hub initiative (Sustainable Market for Affordable Retrofit Technologies).
The hub has already enabled the WMCA to attract more than £44 million of Government funding and support partners in making other successful and significant bids. This collaboration and capacity building will attract further funding and is also providing advice in delivering the retrofit programmes on the ground.
As part of the government-backed Pioneer Places programme, the WMCA is also looking at ways of attracting more private and public sector funding to decarbonise entire neighbourhoods.
Pictured: Andy Street at Cape Hill Estate in Smethwick where work is already underway to retrofit social homes with better insulation, and new windows and doors.