Cost of over £500 million for energy efficient council house stock

Cost of over £500 million for energy efficient council house stock

By Gareth Dennison | 17/09/2021

Cost of over £500 million for energy efficient council house stock
Works taking place at The Lanes

BRINGING Rotherham’s council housing up to the energy efficiency level demanded by Government by 2030 will cost up to £600 million, RMBC says.

The national target is for all social housing to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C or higher by the end of the decade.

Of Rotherham Council’s stock, 9,364 properties are band C or better — but 10,822 are band D or lower. Eleven properties still have coal as the main fuel source.

Jane Davies, head of strategic housing and development, said RMBC had worked with an organisation called Parity Projects to calculate how much money would be required to reach band C for all.

She added: “We have had some really useful information our of that. My current understanding is that the total cost would be between £500 million and £600 million.

“Clearly, it’s very important that we engage with the government funding that’s available and lever as much in as we can.

“Tenants’ fuel bills have increased very dramatically over the past eight or nine years. From an average of £668 in 2012 to £1,138 in April 2021, which shows the scale of the challenge.”

Housing in the private sector is also an average band C rating, according to a 2018 survey commissioned by the council. About 3.2 per cent of homes are below band E.

Mrs Davies said: “We need to continue to look at opportunities to support private homeowners and private tenants to receive energy improvements to therefore reduce their bills.”

A green housing strategy will is set to be presented to RMBC cabinet members in April 2022.

In the meantime, £1.13 million was won from the Local Authority Delivery fund, which is aimed at improving energy efficiency on trickier properties. This brought 217 homes at The Lanes in East Dene up to band C.

An ambitious bid from RMBC is also being prepared for money from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, and will be sent next month.

“There are external fund opportunities available and we have got a good track record of making strong cases and successfully applying for these,” Ms Davies told the council’s Improving Places select commission last Tuesday (7).

“We have set a lot of the groundworks for what we need to achieve and we’ve got an opportunity to really articulate that roadmap towards zero carbon.

“We have got some great relationships with partners and some strong collaborative working arrangements with our repairs and maintenance contractors, Engie and Mears.

“We also work closely with and learn from housing associations and developers. There’s opportunities to exchange ideas and look at ways of joining together.

“And we have excellent support from Rotherham Federation and have good tenant engagement channels.”

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